TCab Tech (时的科技), a Shanghai-headquartered startup specializing in eVTOL technology, yesterday announced the completion of a pre-Series A financing round worth 100 million yuan (US$14.73 million).
This round was led by Grand Flight, with participation from Kunlun Capital, Korea Investment Partners (KIP) and existing investors Bluerun Ventures and Decent Capital.
Proceeds from this round will be used to finance the design, production and testing of TCab Tech’s E20 eVTOL, the company’s first prototype, and also to consolidate the firm’s lead in the space of tilt rotor eVTOL aircraft.
In a press release posted on its website, TCab Tech said it will continue to double down on R&D spending to widen its “moat” and build an air transportation ecosystem with tilt rotor eVTOL at its core.
“TCab Tech is still at a stage of technical accumulation and R&D, our team will assume a pragmatic attitude to focus on the commercialization of manned eVTOL, build aircraft with high business value and assist the growth of China’s comprehensive three-dimensional transportation network,” says Yon Wui NG, founder and CEO of TCab Tech.
By the end of January 2023, TCab Tech has completed on-the-ground, wind tunnel and tilt rotor flight tests of a UAV about a fourth and half as big as its E20 prototype.
Following several tests and iterations, E20’s design has been approved for production.
“With the progress in battery and motor drive technology, we expect eVTOL aircraft to achieve higher safety levels with relatively lower construction and maintenance costs and simpler mechanical structure, and to enable a quieter and more environment-friendly flight,” said Pei Yun, a partner at Grand Flight, the lead investor in this round.
As low-altitude airspace steadily opens up across the world, freeing up the space for new urban air mobility (UAM) solutions, all the countries will be in a tight race to pursue more advanced transports, said Pei, adding that the eVTOL sector is still in its infancy.
Grand Flight decided to invest in TCab Tech after performing long-term due diligence on its team, engineering choice, developmental progress of the prototype, and supply chain partners, Pei noted.
Kunlun Capital, another investor, credited TCab for its choice of a tilt rotor architecture, as it can achieve optimum flight distance, carrying capacity and speed.
“The core team has rich experience, and is making steady inroads in airworthiness certification, miniature aircraft flight test, supplier selection and business development both at home and abroad,” Kunlun Capital said in a statement. “We are confident that TCab Tech will become a representative of China’s homegrown eVTOL industry and one day emerge as a global player.”
Leo Lin, executive director at KIP, also named their reason for backing TCab Tech. “As a representative of the tilt rotor technology among eVTOL startups, TCab is a domestic leader in R&D progress, technological strength, airworthiness certification and enterprise-government collaboration,” Lin claimed. “We expect its products to become operational soon and deliver a more convenient and novel mobility experience for people.”
Large sums of funds have poured into other startups like AutoFlight (峰飞航空科技), Volant (沃兰特航空技术) and WEFlY over the past few years. With new energy car maker XPeng (小鹏汽车, NYSE: XPEV) and drone producer EHang (亿航科技, Nasdaq: EH) also diversifying into eVTOL with their own affiliates, China’s low-altitude airspace is poised to get busier.