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'Air Taxi' Startup Joby Gets $590M Funding From Toyota, Intel, Others

Neer Varshney

Santa Cruz-based startup Joby Aviation has raised $590 million in a Series C funding round, the company announced Wednesday.

What Happened

Japanese automaker Toyota Motor Corporation (NYSE: TM) led the funding round with $394 million investments in the secretive startup that wants to make air transportation "fast," "affordable," and environment-friendly.

Toyota will also share its "expertise in manufacturing, quality, and cost controls" with Joby, in addition to the capital. The company's executive vice president Shigeki Tomoyama will join Joby's board of directors.

Intel Corporation's (NASDAQ: INTC) venture arm Intel Capital, Sparx Group Co. Ltd. (OTC: SRXXF), Capricorn Investment Group LLC., and the U.K. asset management firm Baillie Gifford also participated in the round, Joby said.

What's Next

Joby, which has been working on its all-electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft for the past decade, said that the funding would help it with the commercial launch of the vehicle that will make on-demand air travel available "at a similar cost to driving."

"Air transportation has been a long-term goal for Toyota, and while we continue our work in the automobile business, this agreement sets our sights to the sky," Toyota President and CEO Akio Toyoda said in a statement.

December last year, Joby and Uber Technologies Inc. (NYSE: UBER) jointly announced a partnership where Uber would provide air support services and other infrastructure while Joby would operate the air taxis in "densely populated urban areas."

Joby hasn't given any timeline on the public launch of the aircraft.

Price Action

Toyota's shares closed 0.72% lower at $139.36 at the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday. The shares traded marginally higher in Tokyo at $69.86 on Thursday (local time).

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Joby Aviation

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