Updated Mar 22, 2018

Blade raises $38 million to build flying taxi infrastructure

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.

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Updated 8 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Trump accuses Twitter of interfering in 2020 election

President Trump speaks to the press as he departs the White House in Washington, D.C., on Thursday. Photo: Mandel Ngan/Getty Images

President Trump responded via tweets Tuesday evening to Twitter fact-checking him for the first time on his earlier unsubstantiated posts claiming mail-in ballots in November's election would be fraudulent.

What he's saying: "Twitter is now interfering in the 2020 Presidential Election.They are saying my statement on Mail-In Ballots, which will lead to massive corruption and fraud, is incorrect, based on fact-checking by Fake News CNN and the Amazon Washington Post," the president tweeted. "Twitter is completely stifling FREE SPEECH, and I, as President, will not allow it to happen!"

Twitter fact-checks Trump's tweets for first time

President Trump briefs reporters in the Rose Garden on May 26. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

Twitter fact-checked two of President Trump's unsubstantiated tweets that mail-in ballots in the 2020 election would be fraudulent for the first time on Tuesday, directing users to "get the facts" through news stories that cover the topic.

Why it matters: Twitter and other social media platforms have faced criticism for not doing enough to combat misinformation, especially when its propagated by the president.