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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