Munich-based aviation startup Lilium is known for its all-electric, vertical take-off and landing aircraft for regional air mobility. In a recent move, this air taxi startup announced that it secured an additional investment of $ 35 million (nearly €30.1 million) from Baillie Gifford, its new investor. Notably, this new investor has a track record of investing in high-impact tech companies such as Tesla, Amazon, Airbnb, SpaceX, and Spotify.
Lilium surpasses $ 1b valuation!
This investment comes just three months after Lilium raised $ 240 million (nearly €211.2 million) led by existing investors Atomico, LGT, Freigeist, and Tencent. With this new investment, the overall investment in the current funding round extends to over $ 275 million (nearly €242 million). And, the overall investment raised by the German air taxi startup goes to over $ 375 million (nearly €330 million).
What’s interesting is that this additional investment makes Lilium one of the most valuable and highly capitalised aviation companies with a valuation of $ 1 billion.
Eyes to ramp up serial production
Lilium will use these funds to support the development of Lilium Jet and underpinning preparations for the serial production at its newly completed manufacturing facilities.
Commenting on the new investment, Christopher Delbrück, Chief Financial Officer, Lilium, said, “Baillie Gifford is one of the world’s most influential tech investors and their commitment to Lilium represents a significant vote of confidence in both our physical product and our business case. We look forward to working closely with Baillie Gifford as we seek to bring emissions-free, regional air mobility to the market as early as 2025.”
Commenting on their investment, Michael Pye, Investment Manager at Baillie Gifford, said, “We are delighted to support the remarkable team at Lilium in their ambition of developing a new mode of transport. While still at an early stage, we believe this technology could have profound and far-reaching benefits in a low-carbon future and we are excited to watch Lilium’s progress in the years ahead.”
Air taxi to go live by 2025
Lilium was established in 2015 by Daniel Wiegand, Sebastian Born, Matthias Meiner and Patrick Nathen in Munich. Back in 2019, the company revealed the prototype of its five-seater electric air taxi, which completed its maiden flight over Germany. The Lilium Jet can fly at up to 300 km/h and a range of 300km. The company aims to make its all-electric air taxi operational across the world by 2025.
Main image picture credits: Lilium
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The fintech industry has exploded with innovations in the past few years, thanks to technological advancements. What used to be considered as an idea before like mobile payments and other financial options have become standard these days.
New mobile payment feature!
Stocard, a German mobile wallet company has announced the launch of a new mobile payment feature as it reaches 50 million users globally. Starting today, Stocard users can pay via a virtual Mastercard issued in the app, an option which will be rolled out across Europe later this year.
In an exclusive interview with Silicon Canals, Björn Goß, CEO and co-founder of Stocard says, “Currently, Stocard supports Visa and Mastercard as funding cards. Users can add all their bank cards to their loyalty cards and select which of these cards they use to fund their wallets with. In the future, Stocard will also offer several ways to connect bank accounts, such as bank transfers and direct debits.”
Talking about the possibility of adding direct debit cards, Goß adds, “Stocard’s ambition is to offer users maximum flexibility. Thus, direct debits will be offered as well. Beyond that, other ways to easily connect funding sources in the way that’s most convenient to each user will be offered. For example, soon users will be able to auto-load money from cards they added to Stocard: whenever the Stocard wallet balance drops below a certain amount, Stocard automatically adds additional money to the Stocard wallet making sure the wallet is always sufficiently funded.”
Future of banking is not banks!
Founded by Björn Goß, David Handlos, and Florian Barth, Stocard lets users store all their loyalty cards in one place – on their smartphones. The company is on a mission to build the leading mobile wallet platform making the daily shopping experience easy, engaging, and rewarding.
Goß adds, “Stocard wants to build the leading mobile wallet and believes that the future of banking is not banks. Thus, there is no big ambition for Stocard to become a bank itself.”
Uses Wirecard’s license to offer financial services!
As per the company claims, sign-up only takes a minute and is completely digital, with no paperwork required. Just like with their loyalty cards, users will now be able to add their bank cards to the Stocard app and select which one they want to fund their wallet with. The app has Stocard’s proprietary NFC technology embedded to make it easy.
In the long run, Stocard wants to offer more financial products such as Point Of Sale lending (buy now, pay later), cashback, and savings within their digital wallet. It should be noted that Stocard is using Wirecard’s license to offer financial services, including payments.
The mobile wallet company counts 50 million customers predominantly located in various places. “Stocard has been launched in Canada, where already 10% of the population is using Stocard for their daily shopping. After this successful proof of concept for the North American market entry, supporting its ambition to build the leading mobile wallet for the Western World, Stocard has also silently launched in the US, which will become a bigger focus later. The obvious next steps in the near-term future are the roll-out of the payment feature across Europe” adds Goß.
Raised €27.4 million!
Last year, shoppers made 1.7 billion purchases with the app, spending close to €40 billion annually. According to the company claims, Stocard customers spared €2 billion globally in 2019. To date, the company has raised €27.4 million funding over 5 rounds. The last funding was raised from Macquarie Capital in 2018.
About the funding, Goß says, “Stocard is very well funded. Even during Corona, the company is growing fast – we are also still hiring – and believe that we will be one of the winners emerging from the crisis. Thus, we see strong interest in the market and it, therefore, might be that we close another round this or next year to further accelerate our growth and build the leading mobile wallet for the Western World and growing from 50 to 200, 300 million users.”
The company now operates in the UK, Germany, Italy, France, the Benelux countries, and Australia.
Main image credits: Stocard
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Truphone, a UK-based startup that provides voice and data services for phones, tablets and IoT hardware by way of eSIM software integrated directly into the devices, has raised another round of funding to continue expanding its business. The company, which told TechCrunch today that it counts Apple as a key partner, has raised another £30 million, valuing Truphone at £410 million (or $ 38 million at a $ 516 million valuation at current rates).
Truphone said it would use the money to continue investing in software development and network upgrades “to ensure the business is equipped to deliver on further acceleration; and to support an expanding worldwide presence, particularly in North America and Asia Pacific.”
The company said it has now provisioned some 4 million eSIM profiles globally and is seeing further eSIM downloads of 20,000 daily.
Although eSIM technology was conceived as a quick way to switch carriers without physically changing fiddly, tiny physical cards (and subsequent carrier contracts), it’s an interesting datapoint right now, given that we are seeing a big focus on technology and transactions that can be run in a contactless way (thus avoiding the spread of the novel coronavirus).
“We have long championed eSIM as the superior method of connectivity, and it’s immensely rewarding to reap the benefits of this decision,” said Ralph Steffens, CEO of Truphone, in a statement. “We are delighted that our investors continue to support us as we develop this technology which is maturing and accelerating all the time. Backed further by our investors, the future looks bright for Truphone, our partners, customers and a better-connected world.”
Truphone did not disclose the specific names of investors but we have confirmed that the majority of the funds are coming from Vollin Holdings and Minden Worldwide — two investment firms with ties to Roman Abramovich, the Russian oligarch who also owns the Chelsea football club, among other things.
Collectively, Abramovich-connected entities controlled more than 80 percent of the company when Truphone last raised funding in 2018: part of its large shareholding also stems from an earlier fundraise, when the company raised $ 339 million to retire existing debt in 2017.
For some additional context, the company was valued at £386 million in its last fundraise in 2018, making this latest raise effectively a slight down round.
Truphone is not a startup in the “young” sense. It has actually been around since 2006, starting out originally as a provider of SIM cards that travellers could use in their phones to get cheap calls and data while roaming outside their home countries. That legacy MVNO business reached breakeven in September 2019, it said today.
In more recent years, it has pivoted to focusing squarely on eSIM services, taking advantage of the advances in hardware design that make it easier to switch carriers (and use cheaper data plans) without physically replacing a SIM card.
It was an early partner of Apple’s — a supporter of eSIM developments, first for its iPad tablets — and said today that in the last year has secured deals with 25 “major operator customers across four continents”, covering some 200 million customers, to expand its network of coverage to allow users to more easily switch between carriers, and seek out cheaper data deals. Its growth, Truphone said, makes it one of the three biggest eSIM providers now globally.
The company today says it provides several flavors of eSIM services. The first of these, an eSIM operating system that it calls SIM OS, works with eUICC and iUICC hardware, and “is a component-oriented, high-performance embedded operating system, fully compatible with most international and industry standards such as ISO, GSMA, Oracle’s Java, Global Platform, 3GPP and ETSI.”
The second of these is a secure remote SIM provisioning service. “Truphone’s platform works with any mobile network operator, is interoperable with any eSIM and supports consumer and M2M eSIM deployments” through this service, it said.
It also launched an entitlements server, an operator-focused service that allows carriers to enable the use, for example, of Apple Watch devices and other connected devices and objects on their networks.