Skift Take

There's a lot of money pouring into next-generation flight technology with promises of huge revenues in the future.

Series: Startups This Week

Travel Startup Funding This Week

Each week we round up travel startups that have recently received or announced funding. Please email Travel Tech Reporter Justin Dawes at [email protected] if you have funding news.

There’s a lot of money pouring into next-generation flight technology. This week, there was an investment into renewable jet fuel and a propulsion system for flying taxis.

Four travel tech startups have announced fundraises of over $68 million over the past week.

LanzaJet: $30 million

LanzaJet, a renewable jet fuel company, has raised $30 million from Southwest Airlines.

Illinois-based LanzaJet says its technology can convert low-carbon ethanol to jet fuel. The company in January opened a small-scale plant in Georgia that it says can produce 10 million gallons of fuel per year from sources including feedstock waste.

Southwest used 2.1 billion gallons of fuel in 2023, according to a year-end earnings report. That’s an example of the need for big increases in renewable jet fuel production for the aviation industry to meet net-zero emissions goals by 2050.

As part of the funding agreement, LanzaJet plans to open a sustainable aviation fuel production facility in the U.S., and Southwest plans to be the anchor customer. 

LanzaJet also plans to help advance operations of Saffire Renewables, a Southwest investee that’s developing tech to produce ethanol from corn stover. LanzaJet plans to convert Saffire’s ethanol into jet fuel at its future facility. 

LanzaJet has a goal of reaching 1 billion gallons of fuel production annually by 2030. 

CycloTech: $21.7 million

CycloTech, which is developing an aviation propulsion system for flyings taxis, has raised €20 million ($21.7 million).

The investors were Breeze Invest and Konos Holding.

The company has a goal to obtain €53 million in financing this year. 

Austria-based CycloTech said its product is designed to produce thrust in a fully circular path, enabling vertical takeoff. And the tech would enable the aircraft to transition from vertical to horizontal flight without needing to change altitude or activate another propulsion system, the startup said. 

The CycloRotor product has gone through six generations over the last several years, and its most recent version has been in flight test operations since 2021. 

The latest funding will go toward developing a full-scale prototype of the CycloRotor propulsion system and prepare it for certification by the European Aviation Safety Agency.

“The long-term goal with our CycloRotors is to turn the vision of the flying car into reality,” said Markus Steinke, chief development officer at CycloTech, in a statement. 

Lizy: $12.4 million

Lizy, a car rental app for businesses, has raised $12.4 million (€11.5 million). 

Investors for the new funding included D’Ieteren, Alychlo, NewAlpha Asset Management, and Welvaartsfonds.

The Belgium-based company has more than 1,000 cars in Belgium and France, with more than 3,500 business clients. 

The CEO said in a Linkedin post that the startup has grown revenue 12 times in two years. 

IntrCity: $4.5 million

IntrCity, a digital ticketing platform for trains and buses in India, has raised $4.5 million (370 million Indian rupees).

This investment was led by Mirabilis Investment Trust, with support from Nandan Nilekani’s family trust (NRJN), Omidyar Network India, and Ujamaa Ventures.

The company has partnerships with more than 30 bus operators in India. 

The funding will go toward strengthening the product, expanding business partnerships, and adding more users.

LanzaJetUnspecifiedSouthwest Airlines$30 million
CycloTechUnspecifiedBreeze Invest and Konos Holding$21.7 million
LizyUnspecifiedUnspecified$12.4 million
IntrCitySeries C extensionMirabilis Investment Trust$4.5 million

Skift Cheat Sheet

Seed capital is money used to start a business, often led by angel investors and friends or family.

Series A financing is typically drawn from venture capitalists. The round aims to help a startup’s founders make sure that their product is something that customers truly want to buy.

Series B financing is mainly about venture capitalist firms helping a company grow faster. These fundraising rounds can assist in recruiting skilled workers and developing cost-effective marketing.

Series C financing is ordinarily about helping a company expand, such as through acquisitions. In addition to VCs, hedge funds, investment banks, and private equity firms often participate.

Series D, E, and, beyond These mainly mature businesses and the funding round may help a company prepare to go public or be acquired. A variety of types of private investors might participate.


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Tags: funding, southwest, sustainable aviation fuel, vcroundup

Photo credit: Pictured: Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 tails at Pittsburgh International Airport. Pittsburgh International Airport / Flickr

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