5 Dec 2016

The future of sustainable transportation: why we invested in Lilium Aviation

At Atomico we believe that the truly ambitious and talented entrepreneurs are now most likely to solve the greatest challenges we face — none more so than making the planet more sustainable.

Lilium Aviation is exactly what we mean by this, and we’re delighted to be extending our investment in the Munich-based company. So, why are we so excited about the company?

First, it’s clear that transportation around the world no longer works. While congestion in cities rises exponentially, making it harder and harder for people to move about, so does pollution. By 2035, there could be 2bn cars on the road. And with air travel excluded from the Paris Climate agreement, the result is obvious — an unsustainable planet.

This is why we are so excited about Lilium Aviation. Their technology has the potential to transform our ability to tackle both congestion and pollution, making life easier for us as we move between cities and cutting radically emissions from transport. We believe it’s actually our best chance of tackling both problems at the same time.

Lilium has created an electrically powered commuter plane, capable of taking-off and landing vertically on a patch of land no wider than its own modest wingspan. Most importantly, the Lilium Jet emits exactly same amount of CO2 whether it travels five miles or two hundred — precisely none.

We’ve got no doubt that Lilium is best positioned to become the global category leader in this transformative technology. We met with Daniel Wiegand and his co-founders at the start of the year and were so impressed that we made an initial investment to help with their prototype development, ahead of our Series A round. With the full prototype in test flight early next year, it’s clear that Lilium is already a global leader.

Second, Lilium is a great example of how transformative technology is now being developed in Europe. The team is based just outside Munich and since it was founded in 2015 the firm has brought together over 30 leading experts in the fields of avionics, composite materials and autonomous vehicles.

As our State of European Tech 2016 report showed last week, European entrepreneurs are taking on the world’s hardest challenges using deep technology and becoming global leaders.

Lilium is a fantastic example of what’s possible. And when they succeed, they have a positive and lasting impact on the world.

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