Autonomous air cargo startup MightyFly has closed $5.1 million in seed funding, which will be used to scale up the company’s MF-100 eVTOL aircraft and build the infrastructure needed to support a global network.

The announcement also makes MightyFly co-founder Manal Habib the first woman CEO of an eVTOL aircraft company to secure significant funding. This funding round included investments from 500 Startups, At One Ventures, Global Founders Capital, Graph Ventures and Halogen Ventures. 

Habib said: “MightyFly marries economies of scale with autonomy to completely disrupt logistics, making quick, cost-efficient, and carbon-neutral cargo accessible to all businesses and all areas. For me, aerospace is more than a profession, it’s a passion—and a way to transform lives for the better.

“Since I was a child, I’ve dreamt of the possibilities to advance human civilization through the power of flight. Today, I’m making it happen.”

MightyFly’s autonomous aircraft has a cargo capacity of up to 100 pounds and can travel 600 miles at cruising speeds of 150 mph. Approximately the size of a midsize car, the aircraft will provide rapid and efficient package transport for businesses and governments. MightyFly has said a larger aircraft with cargo capacity of 500 pounds is planned.

The aircraft are built to the same standards as every commercial airplane in the sky and designed for double redundancy across all systems, with a failure tolerance that is even better than manned systems.

MightyFly aircraft will broadcast Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) in and out and will be in communication with Unmanned Aircraft System Traffic Management (UTM), as well as MightyFly’s own tower. Every MightyFly flight is supervised 24/7 by a human remote operator.

The MF-100 has received a Special Airworthiness Certificate from the FAA, and test flights are being performed in California, USA. The company aims to achieve FAA Part 135 certification, and airworthiness certifications in other markets, like Australia and Asia.

John Formisano, a retired FedEx executive, formerly VP of Global Vehicles, and advisor to MightyFly, said: “MightyFly’s range and payload are unprecedented in the expedited delivery space today. Most existing delivery platforms carry much lighter payloads much shorter distances.

“While many traditional carriers are slowly moving toward carbon-neutral and autonomous delivery, MightyFly is ready to take off. They have the ability to change how business is done.”

At One Ventures Managing Partner, Tom Chi, added: “MightyFly is creating a capability that is well positioned to disrupt the landscape of expedited logistics. Compared to existing alternatives, it is faster, lower-cost, and requires no airport infrastructure, all while being carbon neutral.

“It could also potentially be a leapfrog technology for rural and lesser developed regions of the world. At One Ventures is incredibly excited to be supporting this team in their mission.”

MightyFly was co-founded by Habib and Scott Parker, who both met while working at Zipline. A graduate from both MIT and Stanford, Habib previously led flight controls at Zipline and developed the first robust commercial flight controller. She is also a private pilot and in the process of building her own airplane.

While Parker was a senior mechanical engineer at Zipline, where his unmanned aircraft designs were deployed at scale, delivering blood and other medical supplies to remote locations. He also led product design at Volansi and holds a Bachelor of Engineering in Mechatronics and Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Sydney.

Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, MightyFly is currently expanding its hiring to further the development of its fleet and seeking business partnerships for proof-of-concept delivery service operations.