Larry Page backing BlackFly
Google co-founder and tech entrepreneur Larry Page is not content backing just one VTOL company and has decided to invest in Opener, the company behind the recently revealed BlackFly VTOL.
Canadian aviation company Opener named the tech billionaire as a “strategic backer” shortly after it revealed its all-electric VTOL aircraft, the BlackFly.
This follows on from Mr Page’s investing in a popular VTOL start-up, Kitty Hawk (previously called Zee.aero), in June 2016. The amount he invested in that company or in Opener has not been disclosed.
A short press release detailing Page’s involvement was uploaded to the company’s website on the day of BlackFly’s unveiling but not shared across any of the company’s social media.
The first concept of the BlackFly took its first flight in October 2011 in the small town of Warkworth in Ontario. Opener’s CEO, Marcus Leng, set up a stealth company to develop and fly the aircraft before it reorganised as Opener in September 2014.
From Page’s previous investments in Kitty Hawk’s Cora and Flyer, it appears that Page is predominantly looking to invest in the personal VTOL market as opposed to the air-taxi market – for which companies like Uber have plenty of key investors.
Whilst Marcus Leng did not make the BlackFly development public until earlier this month, he did file a patent for an electric-powered “compound rotorcraft” in 2012 under the assignee name Skykar Inc, before the Opener brand was establish.
Tech publication The Verge revealed that Skykar Inc submitted papers to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in May 2012 to issue $2 million in shares to potential investors and received at least $1.1 million in investment.
The Opener BlackFly made its public debut at AirVenture Oshkosh Airshow in Wisconsin this week and the company is exhibiting the aircraft as well as a virtual-reality air-taxi experience at the show.