ZeroG (零重力飞机工业), a domestic eVTOL startup, announced the completion of a strategic round of funding valued at nearly 100 million yuan (US$13.72 million), tech media outlet 36Kr reported today.
The round was led by Nanjing Construction Enterprise, with participation from Hefei Angel Fund and existing shareholder Bluerun Ventures.
Proceeds from this round will be spent on test flight of ZeroG’s flagship model ZG-T6, mass production of other models and acquisition of an airworthiness certificate.
cnrobopedia reported in June that the startup secured shy of 100 million yuan from an angel round led by Lenovo Capital and QF Capital, followed by HF Capital.
Earlier, the firm closed its seed round worth tens of millions of yuan in May 2022, backed exclusively by Bluerun Ventures.
Amid policy support to develop a so-called “low-altitude economy” and complement the urban air mobility (UAM) system, a number of eVTOL startups have cropped up in recent years and are riding the waves.
ZeroG sets itself apart from peers with its diversified product portfolio spanning three types of architecture: multi-copter, lift-and-cruise and tilt-rotor.
The first-generation, second-generation and third-generation airframes of ZeroG. Photos courtesy of ZeroG
ZG-One, a multi-coper aircraft modeled after the space module, adopts a hexacopter architecture and has a two-seat layout.
Equipped with a triple redundant flight control system and an ejection parachute, ZG-One’s application is in low-altitude aerial tourism, logistics, emergency rescue and geological survey.
The company’s focus is now on its tilt-rotor aerial vehicle ZG-T6. With a six-seat structure, it has a longer endurance and faster cruising speed than ZG-One, and can be applied in urban aerial mobiltiy, intercity transportation and private travel services.
“For eVTOL aircraft, the key technology is tilt-rotor,” founder and CEO Li Yiheng told 36Kr.
Compared to a fixed-wing design, tilt-rotor faces the complex issue of coupling in the skies.
If left unsolved, the eVTOL vehicle could experience jolts in the air, ruining a stable ride.
While the aircraft is on the ground with rotating propellers, the coupling issue could cause the plane to disintegrate due to sympathetic vibration of the ground.
Through pneumatic configuration of its planes and a self-developed tilt-rotor design, ZeroG has enhanced the pneumatic efficiency by 30% tto 40%, while lowering the noise by around 25%.
These indicators suggest an improvement in the eVTOL aircraft’s overall performance.
In terms of commercialization, ZeroG has partnered with travel service operators like Yellow River Danxia Tourism and Nanjing Changrun Transportation Technology, and signed intentional orders for 200-plus of its eVTOL aircraft.
“ZeroG stands out with R&D strengths and implementation efficiency. It is the country’s only known startup that conducts R&D on multi-copter, lift and cruise and tiltrotor eVTOL vehicles,” a business representative from Nanjing Construction Enterprise was quoted in a corporate press release.