Joby Aviation, an electric aircraft manufacturer, is raising $180m in funding from UK-based investment management company Baillie Gifford.

The Santa Cruz, California-based company is selling 43,985,681 shares at $4.10 per share to strengthen its balance sheet and support operations, it said announcing the first quarter results.

Joby’s business strategy is comparable to a ridesharing app, in contrast to other electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) manufacturers who intend to sell aircraft to clients like airlines and logistical firms.

According to the company, the funding is anticipated to speed up Joby’s manufacturing, allowing it to take advantage of revenue possibilities in the short term without affecting the funds necessary for the company to get through the type certification process for its eVTOL aircraft.

“It is important as long-term investors – even more so in a challenging environment – that we maintain our approach of backing transformational companies to build new growth industries,” a Baillie Gifford spokesperson was quoted by Reuters as saying.

Baillie Gifford, an existing investor in Joby, has also invested in electric vehicle maker Tesla and e-commerce retailer

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By GlobalData

The transaction is expected to complete on 5 May 2023, said Joby.

Joby’s announcement comes shortly after the aircraft maker secured a $55m contract from the US Department of Defense.

Under the terms, Joby will supply up to nine aircraft, with the first two to be deployed at Edwards Air Force Base by early 2024.

Joby founder and CEO JoeBen Bevirt said: “Already in 2023 we have achieved significant milestones in production, testing and funding and I am incredibly excited about our progress as we move towards our goal of launching [a] commercial service in 2025.

“The decision by Baillie Gifford to invest further in Joby is a testament to their long-term belief in the electrification of transportation and their track record speaks for itself.”