Baillie Gifford invests $180m in Joby electric aircraft

By Mark McSherry

Edinburgh-based investment giant Baillie Gifford is to invest a further $180 million in Santa Cruz-based electric aircraft maker Joby Aviation.

The news comes days after Joby clinched a $55 million contract extension to deliver up to nine air taxis to the US Air Force.

Baillie Gifford is expected to buy 43,985,681 shares in Joby at $4.10 per share.

Joby Aviation founder and CEO JoeBen Bevirt said: “Already in 2023 we’ve achieved significant milestones in production, testing and funding, and I’m incredibly excited about our progress as we move towards our goal of launching 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.

“We couldn’t be more proud to have their support.”

Joby’s business model is similar to a rideshare app, unlike other electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) manufacturers, which plan to sell aircraft to customers such as airlines and logistics companies.

“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,” said a Baillie Gifford spokesperson.

In its first quarter 2023 shareholder letter, Joby said: “On May 3, 2023, we entered into an agreement to issue approximately $180 million of common stock in an offering led by Baillie Gifford, an existing, long-term Joby investor.

“This offering, which is expected to close on May 5, will further bolster our balance sheet and support our operations, including future investments in capacity to accelerate production.”

The company added: “Joby continues to maintain a strong balance sheet with $978 million in cash and short-term marketable securities at the end of the quarter, excluding approximately $180 million of net proceeds from its public offering, led by Baillie Gifford, which was announced earlier today and is expected to close on May 5, 2023.

“These additional funds are expected to be used to accelerate Joby’s early production, enabling the business to capitalize on near-term revenue opportunities without impacting the funds available to carry the company through to type certification of its electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft.”