Vertical Aerospace founder invests $50M to keep firm going


Vertical Aerospace Ltd. said it secured $50 million of new funding from founder Stephen Fitzpatrick, a cash injection that will prevent the flying taxi firm from running out of cash later this year.

Fitzpatrick will provide a first $25 million tranche of funding in March, which would value the company at $10 per share, well above the current market price. The remainder would come by the end of July, with the pricing still to be decided and the amount dependent on how much outside capital the firm is able to raise.

“I see a huge opportunity,” Fitzpatrick said of his decision to double down on his investment in the flying taxi firm. “Of course, like every technological development, there are execution risks but, I really believe in the team that we’ve built. I believe in the progress that we’ve made, and I’m putting my money where my mouth is.”

Without more funding, Vertical Aerospace projected last year it would burn through its cash by September. Separate talks with investors on a fresh financing round collapsed due to Fitzpatrick’s concern that his holding would be diluted too much at the current share price.

Vertical Aerospace is one of several companies in the capital-intensive race to get an electric vertical take-off and landing vehicle, or eVTOL, certified for passenger service. The company’s prototype VX4 aircraft crashed during an unmanned test flight in August, and it missed a target to raise fresh funding by December.

The new investment by Fitzpatrick, who is also founder of Ovo Energy Ltd., should see the firm through until the second quarter of 2025, Vertical Aerospace said. It should also allow it to seek further outside funding at a more favorable valuation, people familiar with the matter said.

Vertical Aerospace said the agreement with Fitzpatrick comes at an important time, as it nears the completion of a second generation, piloted VX4 prototype.

The company previously raised money from investors including Mudrick Capital Management and Kouros SA and went public through a SPAC in 2021. But it was late to list and has since seen its shares plunge as investors soured on the SPAC boom and last year’s crash of its prototype dented confidence.

Fitzpatrick said he chose to invest more money as taking further external investment at the current share price would be too dilutive. “I didn’t want to accept the dilution,” he said. “I really don’t believe the current market price reflects the value the company should have.”

Vertical Aerospace fell 80% last year, closing Friday in New York at 58 cents and leaving the company with a market value of about $130 million. The New York Stock Exchange warned Vertical Aerospace in December that it will be removed from the exchange unless the shares trade above $1 over a 30-day period in the next six months.

— With assistance from Siddharth Vikram Philip

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