Joby Aviation is acquiring Uber’s Elevate as the ride-hailing giant continues to shed divisions during the pandemic

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Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi. Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images for Uber
  • Joby Aviation will acquire Uber Elevate in another sell-off from the ride-hailing giant during the pandemic.
  • Uber will invest $US75 million in Joby Aviation which, combined with a previously undisclosed $US50 million investment in January from Uber, brings the latter’s total fundraising haul to $US820 million.
  • Joby expects to begin flights with electric vertical take-off and land vehicles as soon as 2023.
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Electric air taxi startup Joby Aviation will acquire Uber’s Elevate division in yet another sell-off from the ride-hail giant during the pandemic, the companies announced Tuesday.

The sale comes just four years after Uber launched Elevate as a way to promote “urban air mobility” with flying cars and electric vertical take-off and land vehicles, or eVTOLs, that allow riders to fly over cities instead of driving through them.

Uber will instead become a stakeholder in Joby Aviation with a $US75 million investment in the company, a common theme of Uber’s recent sales during the pandemic as it allows the company to stay connected with its now-severed divisions. A price for the deal was not announced but it’s expected to finalise in early 2021.

The two have also agreed to integrate each other’s services in their mobile applications for a seamless user experience once Joby launches eVTOL services. Joby also announced an additional $US50 million in previously unannounced funding from Uber in a Series C financing round in January 2020 that brings the company’s total investment haul to $US820 million, of which $US125 million is from Uber.

“The team at Uber Elevate has not only played an important role in our industry, they have also developed a remarkable set of software tools that build on more than a decade of experience enabling on-demand mobility,” JoeBen Bevirt, Joby Aviation’s founder and CEO, said in a press release.

“These tools and new team members will be invaluable to us as we accelerate our plans for commercial launch,” he added.

The announcement came the same week that the sale of Uber’s Advanced Technologies Group to self-driving car startup Aurora was announced, as Business Insider’s Graham Rapier reported. The deal also saw Uber invest $US400 million in Aurora.

Joby and Uber first teamed up less than a year ago in December 2019 as the ride-hailing company sought to build relationships with eVTOL manufacturers. The 11-year-old company is currently developing a six-motor eVTOL that it says can fly distances of over 150 miles.

Joby Aviation intends to fly its eVTOLs as soon as 2023.