The air taxi developer added $35m from Baillie Gifford to a $240m first close led by Tencent in March, and is now valued above $1bn.

Investment manager Baillie Gifford added $35m to a funding round for Germany-based urban aircraft developer Lilium already backed by internet group Tencent, lifting it to more than $275m.

Tencent led the round’s first close in March this year, participating alongside investment firm Freigeist Capital, venture capital firm Atomico and asset management group LGT.

The round values Lilium at more than $1bn, sources close to the company told TechCrunch. Chief commercial officer Remo Gerber confirmed that the round, which earlier reports suggested could reach $400m, is yet to close.

Lilium is working on a vertical take-off and landing aircraft designed for use as an airborne taxi service. It will not give off carbon emissions and is intended to be used for regional journeys as an alternative to car or train journeys.

The company piloted a version of the five-seater vehicle in 2019 and intends to eventually launch the service by 2025. It was spun out of Technical University of Munich’s commercialisation arm, Unternehmertum, in 2015.

Tencent, LGT, Atomico and Obvious Ventures had provided $90m in series B funding for Lilium in 2017, the year after Atomico invested $12m in the company. Freigeist Capital had already supplied an undisclosed amount of seed capital.

Lilium’s chief financial officer, Christopher Delbrück, said: “The funds raised during this round give us the security to weather the challenging economic landscape we see around us and we are grateful to be able to stay fully focused on our mission.”

Photo courtesy of Lilium GmbH.