Vertical CEO makes $50 million wager on flight test progress

Stephen Fitzpatrick commits new funding as second full-scale VX4 eVTOL prototype is readied for flight in ‘the coming weeks’.

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Vertical Aerospace founder and CEO Stephen Fitzpatrick is making a high-stakes bet that the company’s forthcoming flight test progress will meaningfully boost its battered stock price.

The UK-based electric vertical take-off and landing developer announced on Jan. 22 that Fitzpatrick, who is also the founder of OVO Energy, has committed to invest a further $50 million in equity capital into the company. Combined with its remaining cash on hand, the fresh funding should carry Vertical into the second quarter of 2025 at its relatively low burn rate (which was around $95 million in 2023).

Related: Vertical Aerospace details failure sequence that preceded VX4 crash

Fitzpatrick’s commitment includes an initial investment of $25 million, anticipated to close by March, with an obligation for a further $25 million if the company does not secure that amount in alternative equity funding by July 31. But Fitzpatrick said he expects Vertical will be able to raise external capital in coming months “at a substantially higher market capitalization” pending the flight test campaign of its second full-scale VX4 prototype.

“We’re so close to demonstrating really tangible and objective progress,” Fitzpatrick told The Air Current. “I wanted to make sure I sent the strongest possible signal to the market, to our team, to our partners and the broader community that if everybody could see what I can see, then they’d all understand that the market value, the share price of Vertical doesn’t represent the progress that we’ve made.”

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