A startup developing a supersonic airplane that can fly from Sydney to Los Angeles in just over six hours has announced it has secured $US33 million ($AU43.3 million) in series A funding.
Boom — based in Denver, USA — stated that 8VC, Caffeinated Capital, Palm Drive Ventures, RRE Ventures, Y Combinator’s Continuity Fund, and “several angel investors” were involved in the latest round of funding. YCombinator president Sam Altman and investor Greg McAdoo have joined the board as a result.
The company’s current focus is the XB-1. Nicknamed the “Baby Boom” — a one-third model of the supersonic plane the startup eventually wants to build, the Boom, which will be a fully fledged passenger plane with seats sold at an “affordable” price.
Both the XB-1 and Boom are expected to travel at Mach 2.2 or 2,717 kph, which is more than double the speed of current commercial aircraft. The company claims a trip from New York City to London would take just 3 hours and 15 minutes and cost just $US2,500 each way on the Boom. The same velocity would see the current duration of 13.5 hours between Sydney and Los Angeles cut in half, to just over 6.5 hours.
Boom chief executive Blake Scholl said that his firm had taken on this challenge despite an industry dominated by two massive players (Boeing and Airbus) and there being “no successful startup” in 95 years.
“While we love the hard engineering and technical challenges, what really drives us is the enormous human benefit of faster travel,” said Scholl, espousing the social and economic benefits as commercial air travel had sped up in the past century.
The XB-1 aircraft is scheduled to start test flights next year in Denver in partnership with Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic.
Here is a promotional video from Boom that accompanied the series A funding announcement: