Joby Aviation

Joby Aviation's Aircraft in Santa Cruz. 

Joby Aviation, the startup working to develop electric flying taxis from a manufacturing center at the Marina Municipal Airport, announced on Tuesday, Dec. 8, that it has acquired Uber Elevate, the aerial ridesharing arm of Uber. The unusual deal also includes an additional $75 million in funding from Uber.

The companies did not disclose the specific financial terms of the acquisition, but the two aren’t strangers—in December 2019, Joby signed on to manufacture electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft for Uber’s planned air taxi service.

“We were proud to partner with Uber Elevate last year and we’re even prouder to be welcoming them into the Joby team today, while deepening our cooperation with Uber,” JoeBen Bevirt, founder and CEO of Santa Cruz-based Joby, said in a press release. The transaction is expected to close in early 2021.

Joby says it plans to see its aircraft take to the sky by 2023.

The Elevate initiative, which launched in 2016, represented the ridesharing giant’s play for the flying car market. Under this umbrella, the company operated a helicopter service in New York City, but Uber Copter was suspended due to Covid-19. Now, Uber appears to be backing down from some of its more ambitious, futuristic projects—the company also offloaded its self-driving car project this week

Under the terms of this acquisition, Joby will take over Uber’s aerial ridesharing technology and engineering staff and the investment will support the company in further development and testing of its aircraft. Moving forward, the two companies will also “integrate their respective services into each other’s apps, enabling seamless integration between ground and air travel for future customers,” according to the press release.

Joby previously raised $580 million in a venture capital investment round led by Toyota. On Tuesday, Joby said that the funding round also included a previously undisclosed $50 million from Uber. The company also has backing from Intel, JetBlue and more.

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