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Cities of Sustainable Flight

Updated: May 16, 2022

Leif Capital's latest report, (please download and read here) Cities of Sustainable Flight, profiles some of the investors and companies that are investing in, and developing, what Ricky Sandhu, founder of Urban-Air Port Ltd (UAP), a British infrastructure technology start-up (and, disclosure, a Leif Capital client), calls ‘air architecture’.

Cities of Sustainable Flight is inspired by Ricky’s vision of cities accommodating and facilitating advanced air mobility (AAM) and thereby becoming more sustainable. UAP is our central case study (section 2). We also review a broader ecosystem of venture-backed infra-tech, cyber-tech, data- tech, battery-tech and prop-tech start-ups that enable and advance air mobility (section 3). We start with a review of investors that are seeking to invest more in the infrastructure required by AAM (section 1).

How we architect our cities, physically and digitally, to enable and accommodate sustainable flight, is one of the greatest innovation and investment opportunities of our day.

The discrepancy is the opportunity

About $5bn was invested in the development of eVTOL (electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing) vehicles in 2021.[i] But only about $150m was invested in the physical ground infrastructure required by eVTOLs to take off and land. [ii]. Leif Capital sees this discrepancy as an investment opportunity worth exploring, which is what we’re doing in this report.

The rapid changes underway in how people and goods are transported and delivered in and around cities need to become more sustainable. Air and sound pollution must be reduced and eliminated. And so must congestion (even of zero emission vehicles) because clogged streets are neither efficient nor safe. They are an urban blight.

The sustainable solution is to transfer more ground transport to the air, to low altitude air to be specific, where zero emission drones and air taxis deliver their cargo and passengers efficiently and safely. But this won’t happen without new infrastructure.

Investors featured in the report include Supernal (Hyundai), Brussels Airport Company, Lockheed Martin, AEI HorizonX, Levitate Capital, Green Eight, UP Partners and the UK government's grant programme Future Flight Challenge. Venture-backed businesses in the report include Altitude Angel, BETA, infiniDome, hypoint, Blade, Wingcopter 198, H55.

I hope you enjoy the report. If you're an investor or an innovator in eVTOL infrastructure, I'd very much like to meet.

Tom Whitehouse, Leif Capital CEO, May 2022

[i],[ii] Lufthansa Innovation Hub –TNMTAdvancedAir Mobility Investment Dashboard – Figures include investments into ‘physical infrastructure’ category for 2021


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