Skift Take

There's a lot of money going into the development of flying taxis. The one featured this week has its eyes set on the Middle East and Asia.

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.

Flying taxis raised hundreds of millions of dollars last year, and they’re continuing to raise money in 2024. Some are further along in development than others, but the one featured this week has already begun testing.

Four travel tech startups announced fundraises over the last week totaling nearly $86 million.

TCab Tech: $20 Million

TCab Tech, which is testing the flying taxi it developed, has raised $20 million as part of its series A round. 

The $20 million comes from a “strategic investment fund” that plans to introduce the aircraft in the Middle East. 

The TCab aircraft, considered an electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft (eVTOL), has five seats and a cruising speed of 162 miles (260 kilometers) per hour. It is designed to fly for a maximum of 124 miles (200 kilometers) for each trip. 

The company took the aircraft on its first test flight last November.

China-based TCab aims to sell the product in areas that could use flying taxis for sightseeing and inter-city travel, mostly targeting fast-growing regions in China, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and more.

The funding will go toward accelerating development, certification, and commercialization. 

Blueground: $45 Million

Blueground, an operator of furnished rentals, has raised $45 million in series D funding. 

Investors included Susquehanna Private Equity Investments, WestCap, and others. 

Blueground said it also secured debt from Barclays with participation from Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, and HSBC. The debt replaces a $40 million prior loan with Silicon Valley Bank. 

The company has now raised more than $240 million in equity.

New York City-based Blueground operates 15,000 furnished rentals in 32 cities for stays of at least 30 days. Clients include individuals and more than 4,000 companies. 

Blueground’s tech platform allows clients to digitally view and book apartments online and communicate with the operator during their stay.

The company said it signed five franchise agreements in the last six months. They include plans for operations in Japan in partnership with Mitsubishi Real Estate Company, as well as in Thailand with Chic Republic Public Company Limited.

Blueground said it generated $560 million in revenue in 2023, a 70% increase from 2022. The company said it is on track to generate $1 billion in revenue within the next two years.

The new capital will go toward developing the company’s technology and accelerating growth. 

Ember: $13.9 Million

Ember has raised $13.9 million (£11 million) in series A funding to build out its fleet of electric buses for inter-city travel.

The funding was co-led by Inven Capital, AENU, and 2150, with support from Pale Blue Dot and SkyScanner co-founder Gareth Williams.

Ember has 24 vehicles serving 20 towns in Scotland that are underserved by public transportation, and it’s building out a network of chargers for the electric buses. The buses can travel up to 186 miles (300 kilometers) per trip and take just over two hours to charge. 

The company also has proprietary software for digital ticketing, live bus tracking for users, and business operations including route optimization and vehicle utilization.

The funding will go toward improving the technology, scaling the route network, and expanding charging capacity. 

Moonware: $7 Million

Moonware, a platform meant to streamline ground operations at airports, has raised $7 million in seed funding. 

Third Prime and Zero Infinity Partners co-led the round, with support from The House Fund, Lorimer Ventures, and private investors.

Los Angeles-based Moonware said its system streamlines tasks that ground crew have to complete between an airplane’s landing and takeoff. The startup has clients at John F. Kennedy International Airport and Los Angeles International Airport. 

The funding will go toward research and development as well as hiring.

TCab TechSeries AUndisclosed$20 million
BluegroundSeries DUnspecified$45 million
EmberSeries AInven Capital, AENU, and 2150$13.9 million
MoonwareSeedThird Prime and Zero Infinity Partners$7 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: electric vehicles, eVTOL, flying taxis, funding, short-term rentals, vcroundup

Photo credit: Pictured: The flying taxi by TCab Tech during a test flight. TCab Tech / TCab Tech

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