Vertical Aerospace, developer of the VA-X4 eVTOL aircraft (earlier post), announced investments from American Airlines, Avolon, Honeywell and Rolls-Royce, who have invested in the PIPE and are part of Vertical’s strategic partner ecosystem; Microsoft’s M12, 40 North and Rocket Internet SE have also invested in the business.
Commercial partnerships and individual conditional pre-orders have also been agreed with American Airlines, Virgin Atlantic and Avolon for up to 1,000 aircraft in total—valued at up to $4 billion—providing a direct route to market and opportunity to work together on key go-to-market workstreams.
American has agreed to pre-order, subject to certain conditions precedent and future agreed upon milestones, up to 250 aircraft, and an option to order an additional 100 aircraft. Avolon has agreed to pre-order up to 310 aircraft with an option for a further 190, and Virgin Atlantic has an option to purchase between 50 and 150 aircraft.
Vertical has entered into a definitive agreement for a business combination with Broadstone Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). The transaction will result in Vertical becoming a publicly-traded company, with a pro forma equity value of approximately $2.2 billion. Vertical will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange following the combination, which is expected to close in the second half of 2021, under the ticker EVTL.
The VA-X4 is a piloted, electric Vertical Take Off and Landing (eVTOL) vehicle. The VA-X4 will be capable of traveling a more than 200 mph, with a range of more than 100 miles and capacity for 4 passengers and the pilot. The aircraft takes off vertically enabling it to operate in and out of cities and other confined locations.
The VA-X4 is expected to be certified to the same standards as large commercial airliners and therefore is expected to be 100x safer than a helicopter. Vertical intends to certify the VA-X4 to European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) standards in order to unlock a large urban air mobility (UAM) total addressable market (TAM) of $1 trillion by 2040, with an upside TAM of $4.4 trillion by 2040 (according to Morgan Stanley).
Vertical’s ecosystem approach draws on R&D commitments and the commercial and manufacturing expertise of partners such as Rolls-Royce, Honeywell, GKN and Solvay alongside an in-house focus on high value-add design and proprietary technology, creating an asset-light business model with highly attractive unit economics.