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United invests $15M in Eve Air Mobility

A white eVTOL with United branding flies over Chicago in an artist's rendering.

Image: courtesy of United

United Airlines Ventures, the venture arm of United Airlines, invested $15 million in eVTOL maker Eve Air Mobility and signed a preliminary order agreement for 200 aircraft.

Why it matters: This is United Airline Ventures' second eVTOL investment, signaling the airline is going all in on electric air taxi transportation to both expand its revenue line and meet its sustainability goals.

Details: United Airlines Ventures declined to disclose the valuation of the Eve investment, but confirms it was the only investor in the deal. It expects to begin receiving aircraft by 2026.

State of play: United Airlines Ventures invested in eVTOL maker Archer Aviation's $600 million PIPE when Archer announced its plans to go public via SPAC on February 10. The SPAC implies an equity valuation of $3.8 billion.

  • United placed a $10 million order for up to 100 aircraft from Archer on August 10, but the total order is for up to $1 billion worth of aircraft with an option to purchase an additional $500 million, per TechCrunch.

Between the lines: United Airlines wants to add eVTOL transportation to and from its hub airports in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco for United passengers in a bid to get a cut of the revenue before passengers set foot in the airport.

  • It expects to charge between $100 and $150 per passenger for a one-way trip from a localized pick-up hub to the airport, United Airlines Ventures president Mike Leskinen said on a press call Wednesday.

Zoom out: It's also the latest corporate venture arm to stake a claim in an adjacent climate tech area within its broader category.

  • Corporate venture groups invested a record $23.2 billion in climate tech startups in 2021, which includes renewable energy, energy storage and electric vehicles, per WSJ.
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