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Affordable ‘flying taxi’ startup, The ePlane Company closes $1M seed round led by Speciale Invest and Naval Ravikant

CIIE-IIMA, Java Capital and FirstCheque.vc also participated in the round

Photo Credit : Shutterstock,

INDIA, Chennai, March 3, 2021: IIT Madras incubated start-up, The ePlane Company that is betting on eradicating traffic by building electric planes for short-range intra city commute, has received around $1mn in seed funding. The investment is led by deep-tech venture capitalist Speciale Invest, Indian-American entrepreneur and investor Naval Ravikant, and has participation from Java Capital, FirstCheque.vc, and IIM Ahmedabad’s CIIE.CO. The seed funding will help the company to build a world class engineering team to develop IP and show early product demonstrations by 2021. Further the company aims to globally launch the human-rated 200 kg taxi for deployment by 2024.

Founded in 2017 and launched in 2019,The ePlane Company is the brainchild of aerospace engineering professor Satya Chakravarthy and his student Pranjal Mehta. The startup is building VTOL electric planes which can be used for 10X faster door-to-door commute within cities at a similar price to road taxi. Their technology can also be used for moving cargo in remote and rural areas.

“We are committed to building a flying vehicle providing doorstep access and high mileage like a car. Our product would enable short distance flying for commute at affordable costs.” Pranjal Mehta, Co-founder and CEO, The ePlane Company, said. He further said, “The funding we have received demonstrates the confidence investors have in us. We are grateful for the support from both our Indian and foreign investors”.

“We aspire to offer a better product-market fit for a nearly door-to-door commute experience with the specific smart eVTOL configuration that we are working on.” shared Satya Chakravarthy, Co-founder and CTO, The ePlane Company, who has been on sabbatical since last year to take up this assignment. “It is a unique wing-rotor combination taking advantage of an integrated aero-propulsion architecture,” he added.

“We are very excited for the ePlane Company, to add such a powerhouse of investors from the (silicon) valley, whom we believe would bring strong market insights from North America and Europe. We consider this as one of few early milestones for India Deep-Tech to receive global acceptance.Our belief in the team and their vision stands tall and strong. We are seeing three electric plane companies listed via SPAC at billion dollar valuations, I consider us (ePlane) not far behind that!" said Vishesh Rajaram, Managing Partner, Speciale Invest.

The startup is incubated at IIT Madras Incubation Cell and operates from the National Centre for Combustion Research and Development, IITM.

About The ePlane Company (TEC):

Founded in April 2017 and launched in 2019 by Professor Satya Chakravarthy & Pranjal Mehta to enable aerial mobility. The startup is building electric planes which can be used for 10X faster commute within cities at a similar price to road taxi and can also be used for moving cargo in remote and rural areas. ePlane has demonstrated a 6 kg carrying proof-of-concept by bootstrapping earlier. Currently, the startup has a dedicated team of 16, and is expanding their team to 25-30.


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