Heart Aerospace Raises $107 Million for Hybrid-Electric Airplane: Startup Funding Roundup

Feb 2, 2024 | Media Coverage

Original Source: skift.com

The jury is still out on whether either of these sectors will be able to carve a secure space in the industry.

 Justin Dawes

Last week was a busy time for travel tech funding, and this one is a bit slower. The startups featured join a group of competitors that have raised money in previous months: Next-generation aircrafts and AI-powered trip planners. 

Two travel tech startups announced fundraises totaling $115 million this week.

Heart Aerospace: $107 million

Heart Aerospace, which is developing a hybrid-electric airplane, has raised $107 million in series B funding.

Investors include Sagitta Ventures, Air Canada, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, European Innovation Council Fund, EQT Ventures, Lowercarbon Capital, Norrsken VC, United Airlines, and Y Combinator.

The company has now raised $145 million since it was founded. 

Sweden-based Heart Aerospace is developing a 30-seat regional airplane for short hauls, called ES-30, that it says will produce lower emissions and noise pollution and have lower operating costs. 

The company has a goal to be a connector to communities that are underserved by the aviation market. 

“United’s goal of net zero emissions requires bold solutions and that’s why we’ve invested in a broad portfolio of low-carbon technologies including hybrid-electric aircraft,” said Andrew Chang, United Airlines Ventures managing director, in a statement. “Once operational, we believe Heart’s ES-30 aircraft have the potential to reduce our carbon footprint, while serving regional markets across the country.”    

Heart said it has 250 orders for the ES-30, which includes options for an additional 120 planes. The company also has letters of intent for orders of another 191 airplanes.

The next priorities are getting certification and developing the hybrid-electric powertrain.

Joyned: $8 Million

Joyned, a trip-planning tool for group travel, has raised $8 million in series A funding. 

Private equity firm Reach Markets led the round, with support from Sentor Investments, Velocity Ventures, and Lucerne Investment Partners.

The Israel-based Joyned website allows users to book trips together using an AI-powered system that it says increases sales for clients. The company said it partners with dozens of travel companies that provide content for its website, including Amadeus, OYO Vacation Homes, and online travel agency TravelUp. 

The AI integration is meant to create individually tailored deals based on data like sentiment analysis. The company said that travelers who book through the website spend an average of 25% more and are four times more likely to make a purchase. 

“The company’s AI-based social revenue platform analyzes and identifies consumer group-buying intent from previously unavailable data. Coupled with actionable insights, it provides visibility into buyers’ decision-making process, intent, group dynamics, conversations, and activities to maximize revenue,” the company said in a statement.

The funding will go toward product development, expanding business, and strengthening partnerships.

Heart AerospaceUnspecifiedSeries B$107 million
JoynedReach MarketsSeries A$8 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.