Air Taxi Startup Lilium to Go Public in a $3.3 Billion SPAC Deal

By Mariliana Fotopoulou Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Air taxi startup company Lilium announced plans today to float on the US stock market in a reverse $3.3 billion merger with Qell through a SPAC deal.

Man traveling in a plane.

$830 Million Raised Via SPAC Merger With Qell

The German startup company is competing with a number of other air taxi startups to roll out a battery-powered aircraft that can take off and land vertically (eVTOL), creating an entirely new transport opportunity.

The business merger with Qell SPAC (special purpose acquisition company), which is led by former GM president Barry Engle, is expected to help Lilium achieve its business goal to launch its eVTPOL commercial operations in 2024, the startup said today.

“In Qell, we have found a partner who shares our ambition for sustainable mobility and brings tremendous experience in running mobility and hardware businesses,” said Daniel Wiegand, chief executive, and co-founder of Lilium.

The eVTOL startup expects total gross proceeds to be around $830 million, including $380 million held in trust and capital from a $450 million private placement. Other backers included in the placement are Baillie Gifford, funds and accounts managed by BlackRock, Tencent, Ferrovial, LGT, Palantir, FII Institute, as well as private funds linked to PIMCO.

Apart from its five-seater air taxi prototype, the German company recently unveiled its seven-seater vehicle, named Lilium Jet. The new eVTOL model is best suitable for regional trips that will be its core business. Lilium will be the first air taxi to enter serial production, with a cruising speed of 175 miles per hour (280 kph) and a range of over 155 miles (250 kilometers).

Lilium Jet obtained the CRI-A01 certification basis from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EUASA) in 2020. The German startup company also plans to launch its first network in Florida and site its first eVTOL vertiport at Lake Nona, a smart city close to the Orlando International Airport.

After the business merger, the company will welcome Engle to the board, next to existing members, including former Airbus CEO Tom Enders. Lilium previously raised $275 million in Series C last year.

“Our focus is not on offering journeys within one city, but rather connecting cities, towns, and villages with each other. With a range of 300km we’re able to connect entire regions, bringing high-speed connectivity to places that don’t have it, without the need for expensive infrastructure,” said a Lilium spokesperson at the time.

A business merger with SPAC comes after its US eVTOL rival Joby also merged with SPAC to secure new capital and reach multi-billion-dollar business valuations. The US-based air taxi startup company previously raised substantial capital from venture capital (VC) investors.

Joby said it plans to go public via a business merger with US SPAC Reinvent Technology Partners. The air taxi startup company previously considered going public via initial public offering (IPO).


German air taxi startup Lilium announced today its plan to float on the US stock market via a $3.3 billion reverse merger with SPAC led by former GM president Barry Engle. The eVTOL company expects total gross proceeds to hit $830 million, including $380 million held in trust as well as the capital from a $450 million private placement.

About the Author

Headshot of Mariliana Fotopoulou

Mariliana has an MSC in Consumer Analytics and Business Strategy. She has a special interest in fast-moving industries and Big Data.

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