Beta Technologies has raised $368 million to support the development of its Alia 250 eVTOL aircraft in an oversubscribed private round of funding led by Fidelity Management & Research Company. The Vermont-based company announced today that Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund also has backed the latest round, as well as new and returning investors who participated in the earlier Series A funding initiative.
The Alia 250 is expected to enter service in 2024, with initial customers including express delivery group UPS and operators serving the Blade Urban Air Mobility service. On a single charge, the aircraft will carry a pilot and up to five passengers, or 1,500 pounds of cargo. Another early customer for the aircraft is the United Therapeutics group, which will use the Alia to transport human organs for transplant. “In the world of medical transplant it’s important that we create the most reliable and sustainable system for mobility in all weather conditions,” commented CEO Martine Rothblatt.
Beta also said on Tuesday that it has initiated the permit process to expand its footprint in Vermont with the construction of a facility at Burlington International Airport. The facility will include space for offices, research and development, and manufacturing.
“We support Beta Technologies’ mission to reshape air transportation through zero-emission aviation and we are proud to invest in them through Amazon’s $2 billion Climate Pledge Fund,” said Kara Hurst, vice president and head of worldwide sustainability at Amazon. “The development of sustainable and decarbonizing technologies will help facilitate the transition to a low-carbon economy and protect the planet for future generations.”
Beta said it would allocate further funds to accelerate production and manufacturing of its aircraft and the introduction of charging infrastructure, which the company says remains on schedule for a 2024 delivery.
“We’re gratified by the confidence this diverse group of investors has placed in our team as we continue on our mission to transform how people and goods move about the world,” said Kyle Clark, Beta’s founder and CEO. “These funds allow us to continue hiring the best talent, meet aggressive certification milestones, ramp up production of Alia, and accelerate the rollout of an extensive high-speed universal charging infrastructure.”
In March, Beta advanced to the next phase of flight testing, completing an interstate flight with the Alia from its Plattsburgh, New York home airport test facility to the company’s headquarters on the grounds of Burlington International Airport in Vermont. During the same week, the Alia flew its first interstate flight and the aircraft set a Beta record for endurance, range, and altitude.
The company said that it encourages all of its employees to learn to fly in order to get firsthand experience with aircraft operations, design, and performance. Its team already includes a former FAA project manager who was responsible for the agency’s engagement with new aviation technology companies and veterans of Tesla’s electric vehicle program. Other members of staff have been recruited from organizations including Honeywell, Pratt & Whitney, Rolls Royce, Boeing, and the U.S. Navy.