German flying taxi startup Lilium said on Tuesday it would float on the U.S. stock market via a reverse merger with Qell Acquisition Corp, a blank-cheque acquisition company, in a deal valuing the combined company at $3.3 billion.
Munich-based Lilium is in a race with other aviation startups to deploy battery-powered aircraft that can take off and land vertically, offering a new way for travellers to beat urban traffic and hop between cities.
It joins U.S. rival Joby in merging with a listed shell company to raise fresh capital at multi-billion-dollar valuations, on top of hefty funding already raised from venture capital backers.
Lilium said the combination with Qell, led by Barry Engle, the former president of General Motors North America, would support its objective of launching commercial operations in 2024.
Reporting by Douglas Busvine, editing by Emma Thomasson