Czech startup ZURI, which is developing hybrid VTOL aviation technology aimed at regional passenger and cargo transportation, has closed a successful round of funding worth €1.3 million.

This latest amount, which was led by successful Czech entrepreneurs including Jaroslav Beck, Jakub Nešetřil and Rastislav Turek, bring the total investment raised to €2.4 million. The remaining €1.1 million is convertible notes from Pale Fire Capital and KIWI.com, which was converted into equity.

The funds will be primarily used to strengthen the engineering team, which will continue the development of the company’s aircraft. It will be based on the data acquired during recent technology demonstrator tests. By expanding the development team and purchasing additional manufacturing equipment, ZURI is moving to the next development phase.

Commenting on this latest investment, Beck said: “Efficient transportation is a worldwide challenge which demands ambitious solution propositions which alongside legislation changes could be easily applicable for the whole world’s infrastructure. 

“It will take some time to get there but it is important to build exciting solutions and I am happy that a Czech company is focusing on helping to solve this problem and will motivate other future creators to do the same thing.”

Since 2017, ZURI has been developing its three- to four-seater aircraft which is capable of transporting passengers and cargo distances exceeding 600km. It uses combination of lithium cells and a biofuel-enabled turbine generator, travelling at speeds of between 250-300km/h.

Nešetřil added: “From unprecedented global pandemic to increasing focus on environmental concerns, recent years have shown us that the massive transportation and logistics market is ready for a major disruption, and ZURI has a very interesting proposition in mid-distance personal transportation. Michal’s strong vision and ability to execute is a joy to watch and support.”

The story of how ZURI began started when company founder Michal Illich grew frustrated at the excessive waiting times experienced during a flight from Czech Republic to Croatia. Illich decided to work on creating an aircraft which could offer millions of people a quicker way of travel.

The company released images of its sustainable interior design concept for its VTOL aircraft, as part of a commitment to help lower its environmental impact on air transport.

eVTOL Insights also spoke to Illich earlier this year, where he talked about changing the way people experience on-demand, door-to-door mid-range flights, by travelling on your own schedule and without airports.

Illich suggested ZURI can build an aircraft which can travel further than 700km in the future, using hybrid-powered technology. You can read the full interview by clicking here.