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Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Blade, a short-distance aviation company known for helicopter rides from airports into city centers, has raised around $38 million in new funding from backers that include Airbus and real estate company Colony NorthStar.

Why it matters: Blade is more focused on transportation infrastructure than any particular type of vehicle, and believes its landing zones will eventually be used by eVTOLs (a.k.a. flying taxis).

New York-based Blade doesn't own helicopters, instead contracting out to local fleets. If and when eVTOL technology is commercialized, it would view the transition as an equipment swap.

What wouldn't change for Blade, would be exclusive real estate locations — both at airports and in cities — which is one reason why the Colony NorthStar investment is particularly notable.

More details:

  • Colony NorthStar and Lerer Hippeau Ventures co-led the Series B funding round, with Airbus Helicopters and LionTree Ventures also participating. No valuation was disclosed, but the ballpark is said to be around $150 million.
  • Blade also announced a partnership with Airbus Helicopters, which will co-brand its existing Airbus Ride service in the Dallas market. The two companies also plan to launch an intra-city helicopter service outside of the U.S., which would be Blade's first international launch.

Go deeper

2 hours ago - Sports

Gonzaga University revokes NBA great John Stockton's tickets over mask stance

Former Utah Jazz player John Stockton during a 2017 press conference in Salt Lake City. Photo: Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

Gonzaga University suspended the season tickets of notable alumni John Stockton after the NBA Hall of Famer failed to comply with the school's basketball games mask mandate, the Spokesman-Review first reported.

Driving the news: "Basically, it came down to, they were asking me to wear a mask to the games and being a public figure, someone a little bit more visible, I stuck out in the crowd a little bit," the former Utah Jazz point guard told the outlet in an interview Saturday.

Updated 3 hours ago - World

State Department orders evacuation of U.S. diplomats' families from Ukraine

From left, undersecretary for political affairs Victoria Nuland, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. chargés d'affaires in Ukraine Kristina Kvien during a meeting with Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal in Kyiv. Photo: Yevhen Liubimov/ Ukrinform/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

The State Department will begin evacuating families and nonessential staff from the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv this week, according to a travel advisory published Sunday evening.

Why it matters: The move underscores U.S. fears that a Russian invasion could destabilize Ukraine and threaten the embassy's ability to assist Americans.

Perfect storm brewing for extreme politicians

Data: Axios research; Table: Jacque Schrag/Axios

Redistricting and a flood of departing incumbents are paving the way for more extreme candidates in this year's midterm elections.

Driving the news: At least 19 House districts in 12 states are primed to attract such candidates — hard partisans running in strongly partisan districts — according to an Axios analysis of districts as measured by the Cook Political Report's Partisan Voter Index (PVI).

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