Blade takes off electrically to public markets

Blade, a short-haul aviation company known for its helicopter flights from airports to downtown areas, has agreed to go public through a reverse merger with a Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC) affiliated with KSL Capital Partners.

Why is this important: Blade wants to become the first publicly traded company to offer electric vehicles in the air.

  • It doesn’t plan to own electric planes, just like it doesn’t own its helicopters, but rather to provide physical and digital infrastructure to builders and pilots, much like the base Uber model.
  • One manufacturer that is unlikely to work with, however, is eVTOL developer Joby Aviation, which has just struck a deal to purchase the air taxi unit from Uber.
  • KSL, through its private equity fund, owns Ross Aviation, a fixed-base operator with operations at 14 US airports, including Westchester, NY Ross is not officially included in the Blade deal, but joint ownership could help Blade to obtain airport space. build infrastructure for the landing of helicopters and electric vehicles.

Details: The deal values ​​Blade at $ 850 million, including a $ 125 million PIPE investment from an investor group that includes David Geffen and existing investors like Barry Diller. Directors will include former FAA administrator Jane Garvey.

  • Blade had raised around $ 50 million in venture capital, most recently at a valuation of $ 140 million in 2018, and also secured a PPP loan earlier this year.
  • Once the reverse merger is complete, Blade will trade on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol BLDE.

[Correction: An earlier version of this story said that Joby vehicles would appear exclusively on Uber’s app. That was not accurate.]

About Jonathan J. Kramer

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