The ePlane Company Raises $1 Mn In Seed Round Co-led By Speciale Invest And Naval Ravikant

The seed funding will be used to make investments in technology and grow the team

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IIT-Madras incubated startup The ePlane Company, which is betting on eradicating traffic by building electric planes for short-range intracity commute, on Wednesday announced to have raised $1 million in a Seed funding round. The investment is led by deeptech 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 ePlane Company

The seed funding will help the company to build a world-class engineering team to develop IP and show early product demonstrations by 2021.

“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,” said Pranjal Mehta, co-founder, and chief executive officer, The ePlane Company. “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.”

Furthermore, the company aims to globally launch the human-rated 200-kilogram-taxi for deployment by 2024.

“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 chief technology officer, The ePlane Company. “It is a unique wing-rotor combination taking advantage of the integrated aero-propulsion architecture.”

Founded in 2017 and launched in 2019, the platform 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 ten-times faster door-to-door commute within cities at a similar price to road taxis. Their technology can also be used for moving cargo in remote and rural areas, the company said.

 “We are very excited for The ePlane Company, to add such a powerhouse of investors from the (Silicon) valley, which we believe would bring strong market insights from North America and Europe. We consider this as one of few early milestones for India deeptech 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," added 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.