Electric vertical aerospace aircraft from BETA Technologies.

BETA Technologies

Beta Technologies on Tuesday announced a $ 368 million funding round led by Amazon Climate Fund and Fidelity that valued the vertical electric aircraft launch at $ 1.4 billion.

“These are top-notch investors. It’s great to have the validation,” Beta founder and CEO Kyle Clark told CNBC, speaking of breaking the so-called unicorn status of $ 1 billion. He added that he envisions a future where beta EVAs will be used to deploy Amazon Prime.

“The Climate Pledge Fund was set up so technologies like ours could mature into Amazon’s goals,” said Clark. “There are sustainable solutions in buildings and of course in ground-based vehicles, but aviation has no solution.”

“We support Beta Technologies’ mission to transform aviation through zero-emission aviation.” Kara Hurst, vice president and head of global sustainability at Amazon, said in a press release announcing the funding round. “Developing sustainable and decarbonising technologies will help facilitate the transition to a low-carbon economy and protect the planet for future generations.”

Electric vertical aerospace aircraft from BETA Technologies.

BETA Technologies

EVAs, also known as eVTOLS – electric vertical take-off and landing planes – can take off like a helicopter and fly like an airplane.

Beta agreed to sell 10 of its Alia 250 EVAs to United Parcel Service in April, with an option for an additional 140. UPS plans to test the aircraft for express delivery in small and medium-sized markets. Beta also announced a contract last month to deliver up to 20 EVAs to Blade Air Mobility for short-haul passenger flights. Founded in 2014 and based in Vermont, the start-up also has contracts with the Air Force and United Therapeutics.

Emerging technology has seen great developments in 2021. In March, Joby Aviation announced that it was going public as part of a special-purpose acquisition company valued at $ 6.6 billion. A month earlier, Archer had announced that it would go public on SPAC with a value of 3.8 billion US dollars.

The Federal Aviation Administration has yet to certify EVAs made by each company before they can fly. Beta hopes to get certification by 2024.

“I am incredibly confident that we can achieve certification for this vehicle [Alia 250]”Said Clark.” This is serious business, we are putting people’s lives on the line and we have to get it right and so we are not going to take short cuts. “