14 Aviation Startups to Watch In 2024

The aviation industry is one of the rapidly growing transportation sectors in an increasingly interconnected global economy. 

In 2023, Delta Air Lines was the most valuable airline brand (having a brand value of over $8.9 billion), followed by American Airlines at $8.5 billion. [1]

However, in recent years, the aviation industry has been undergoing a substantial transformation, driven by a surge in technological innovation and entrepreneurial spirit. This evolution has given rise to many new players. 

In this article, we have featured a range of aviation startups that are not only disrupting traditional models but also shaping the future of flight for generations to come.

Did you know? 

The global airline market is expected to exceed $762.6 billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 3.21%. Low-cost carriers are expected to grow the fastest in the coming years. [2]

14. Momentus  

Founded in 2017
Location: California, United States

Total Funding: $156.8 million
Growth Status: Steady 

Momentus is a space transportation company that aims to enable the future of commercial space by offering cost-efficient solutions for moving satellites and other payloads in space. 

Its flagship technology, the Vigoride transfer vehicle, provides transportation services to satellites once they have been deployed into space. Vigoride uses water plasma propulsion technology to efficiently maneuver satellites to their desired orbits or destinations. 

In addition to Vigoride, the company is also developing the Ardoride service module, which will provide propulsion capabilities for larger satellites and deep space missions. 

In March 2024, Momentus won NASA’s contract (along with 15 other companies) to provide flight and payload integration services. [3]

According to Momentus’s latest financial report, they earned $2.18 million in revenue for the year. The previous year, in 2022, they made about $290,000. [4]

So far, the company has raised $156.8 million from 22 investors. Their most recent funding round, a post-IPO equity round, took place in March 2024.

13. Universal Hydrogen

Founded in 2020
Location: California, United States

Total Funding: $82.5 million
Growth Status: Accelerated 

Universal Hydrogen’s primary goal is to make hydrogen a viable and practical fuel option for airplanes, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions and minimizing the environmental impact of air travel. 

They have developed a modular hydrogen capsule system. These standardized, interchangeable containers store and transport compressed hydrogen gas safely and efficiently. [5]

To date, the company has raised $82.5 million through 3 funding rounds. It is backed by several big names, including American Airlines, General Electric, Airbus, Toyota, JetBlue, and Playground Global. 

In 2023, Universal Hydrogen signed a contract with Japan Airlines to work together on developing conversion kits for its regional planes. [6]

12. CesiumAstro

Founded in 2017
Location: Texas, United States

Total Funding: $120.2 million
Growth Status: Rapid Expansion 

CesiumAstro develops communication systems for satellite and space missions. It aims to revolutionize satellite communication by providing innovative solutions that enhance connectivity, data transmission, and overall performance in space. 

In 2023, the company secured a $396,000 contract from NASA to develop an affordable way to communicate with commercial and government networks. [7]

They have raised a total of $120.2 million through six funding rounds, with the most recent one happening in 2024. Airbus Ventures and Forever Ventures are the major investors in the company. [8]

11. Wingcopter

Founded in 2017
Location: Darmstadt, Germany

Total Funding: $109.9 million
Growth Status: Accelerated

Wingcopter develops unmanned aerial vehicles, especially delivery drones. They have gained popularity for their innovative drone designs, which combine vertical takeoff and landing capabilities with fixed-wing flight, allowing for efficient and versatile aerial transportation. 

In 2023, they partnered with Siemens Healthineers to deliver lab samples in Africa. The goal is to develop an integrated drone delivery system that can efficiently transport various laboratory diagnostics materials and other medical supplies. [9]

To date, the company has raised $109.9 million from 12 investors. In 2023, they secured $44 million in a Debt Financing round from the European Investment Bank. [10]

10. Beta Technologies

Founded in 2017
Location: Vermont, United States

Total Funding: $1.1 billion
Growth Status: Explosive

Beta Technologies develops electric aircraft for commercial and military applications, addressing the challenges of sustainable aviation and advanced air mobility. 

It is also involved in the research and development of advanced battery technologies. It focuses on enhancing the energy density and reliability of battery systems to increase the performance and range of its eVTOL (short for electric vertical takeoff and landing) aircraft. 

In 2023, one of its flagship products, the fixed-wing Alia aircraft, received a G-1 Certification Basis from the Federal Aviation Administration, which lays out its environmental and airworthiness standards. [11]

In the same year, the company delivered the first manned electric aircraft to the US Department of Defense. This aircraft flew over 2,000 miles, stopping to charge using Beta’s own infrastructure. [12]

So far, the company has raised $1.1 billion through just four funding rounds. Major investors include the Export-Import Bank of the United States, Fidelity, and TPG Rise Climate Fund. [13]

9. BRINC

Founded in 2019
Location: Washington, United States

Total Funding: $82.2 million
Growth Status: Accelerated

BRINC provides everything necessary for implementing drone technology in public safety operations. This includes hardware (the drones themselves), software for analyzing and controlling data, and associated services like training and maintenance. 

One of the major advantages of BRINC drones is their ability to reach swiftly emergency scenes. With an average response time of 70 seconds, these drones provide critical on-scene information to responders. 

According to their official website, more than 500 public safety agencies in the US have deployed BRINC drones. They have raised a total of $82.2 million through three funding rounds. Major investors include Alameda Research, Index Ventures, and Sam Altman (co-founder of OpenAI). [14]

8. Volocopter

Founded in 2011
Location: Baden-Württemberg, Germany

Total Funding: $780.6 million
Growth Status: Rapid Expansion

Volocopter is known for the development and commercialization of eVTOL aircraft for urban air mobility solutions. Established in 2011, the company has become a frontrunner in the emerging field of electric air taxis.

It aims to provide on-demand, point-to-point air transportation within urban regions, bypassing traffic congestion and offering passengers a fast and convenient alternative to conventional ground-based modes of transportation. 

In 2021, Volocopter bought a European aircraft manufacturing company, DG Flugzeubau, for $1.7 billion. To date, it has raised $780.6 million through 8 funding rounds, with the latest one (Series E round) occurring in 2022. [15]

In 2024, Volocopter received authorization from the German Federal Aviation Office to produce the VoloCity aircraft, their line of air taxis. [16]

7. ZeroAvia

Founded in 2017
Location: California, United States

Total Funding: $260 million
Growth Status: Rapid Expansion

ZeroAvia develops zero-emission hydrogen-electric powertrain systems for commercial aircraft. These powertrain systems are designed to work with existing aircraft models, replacing traditional combustion engines with hydrogen fuel cells and electric motors.

In 2022, ZeroAvia bought HyPoint, a Silicon Valley-based startup that develops hydrogen fuel cell systems for aviation. The following year, they partnered with Alaska Airlines to develop the world’s largest zero-emission aircraft. [17]

Their goal by 2026 is to successfully fly an 80-seat airplane over 500 miles.

So far, they have raised $260 million through 15 funding rounds, with the most recent one occurring in 2024. Previously, they closed a $116 million Series C funding round, attracting investments from notable entities like Barclays, Airbus, and NEOM. [18]

6. Isar Aerospace

Founded in 2018
Location: Ottobrunn, Germany

Total Funding: $350.6 million
Growth Status: Accelerated

Isar Aerospace develops launch vehicles and propulsion systems for small and medium-sized satellites. It aims to provide reliable and affordable access to space for satellite operators, commercial companies, and governmental agencies worldwide. 

They have a diverse team of over 400 professionals from 50+ countries. [19]

To date, Isar Aerospace has raised over $350 million from 15 investors, with backing from the European Investment Fund. In 2023, they closed a Series C round, raising $165 million. The lead investors were Venture Capital, 7 Industries, Earlybird Venture Capital, Porsche SE, HV Capital, and Lakestar. [20]

5. Lilium

Founded in 2015
Location: Bavaria, Germany

Total Funding: $1.2 billion
Growth Status: Rapid Expansion

Lilium develops eVTOL aircraft that offer the convenience of vertical takeoff and landing while providing the speed and range of conventional fixed-wing airplanes. 

Its flagship product, the Lilium Jet, can carry passengers safely and comfortably. The Jet features a sleek, aerodynamic design, and is powered by multiple electric motors mounted on its wings, enabling vertical takeoff and landing. 

In 2024, Lilium secured an order for 20 of its jets (with an option for 20 more) from UrbanLink, an aviation startup looking to bring electric-powered planes to southern Florida. [21]

Financially, Lilium hasn’t reached profitability yet. In 2023, it reported a loss of $400 million, compared to -$280 million in 2022. Nonetheless, the company has successfully raised $1.2 billion through nine funding rounds. [22]

4. Joby Aviation

Founded in 2009
Location: California, United States

Total Funding: $2 billion
Growth Status: Explosive

Joby Aviation aims to provide on-demand air taxi services through its fleet of eVTOL aircraft. These services will allow passengers to travel quickly and conveniently within and between urban areas. 

Their flagship product is the Joby eVTOL aircraft, a quiet, emissions-free aircraft developed for short to medium-range flights. It features six electric motors and a sleek aerodynamic design. 

In 2023, the company revealed the first version of the Joby aircraft and announced that it had received FAA approval to conduct flight tests with that version. A few months later, in November, they flew the aircraft for the first time in an urban setting in New York. [23]

Joby Aviation has raised a staggering $2 billion through 11 funding rounds. It is backed by 26 investors, including SK Telecom, Baillie Gifford, Delta Air Lines, Uber, BlackRock, Fidelity, and the Governor’s Office of Business & Economic Development. 

The company went public in August 2021. Now, it’s valued at $3.79 billion, with assets totaling $1.26 billion. Plus, it boasts a workforce of over 1,400 employees. [24]

3. Pyka

Founded in 2017
Location: California, United States

Total Funding: $48.1 million
Growth Status: Steady

Pyka develops autonomous electric aircraft for agricultural applications, particularly in the field of crop dusting and precision agriculture. 

These aircraft are equipped with advanced sensors, triple redundant batteries, four 25kW electric motors, and artificial algorithms to autonomously navigate fields and identify crop health issues.

They utilize state-of-the-art 3D aerial mapping and dynamic path planning to navigate around obstacles and execute complex flight missions autonomously. This level of autonomy has been successfully tested through 3,000+ aerial crop protection missions. 

Plus, these aircraft can operate from minimal infrastructure, requiring only a 450 ft runway. [25]

 In 2024, Pyka teamed up with SNC to supply electric cargo drones to the US Department of Defense. Together, they will create RumRunner, a customized version of the Pelican Cargo drone. It will be capable of taking off and landing in short distances, enabling operations in difficult environments. [26]

Up to now, the company has raised $48.1 million through three funding rounds. The bulk of this amount, $37 million, was secured in 2022 when they closed the Series A round.

2. Astroscale

Founded in 2013
Location: Tokyo, Japan

Total Funding: $396.8 million
Growth Status: Explosive 

Astroscale addresses the growing threat of space debris through innovative solutions and services. It develops and provides end-to-end solutions for space debris mitigation, such as active debris removal (ADR), satellite servicing, and in-orbit servicing. 

In 2020, they bought a European startup, Effective Space, that manufactures spacecraft to extend the life of communication satellites. 

In 2024, Astroscale successfully launched the world’s first debris inspection spacecraft, ADRAS-J (short for Active Debris Removal by Astroscale-Japan). Two months later, they unveiled the first image of space debris captured by this spacecraft. [27]

So far, the company has raised $396.8 million through 10 funding rounds, with the latest one (Series G) occurring in 2023. It is currently backed by 47 investors, including THE FUND Limited Partnership, ANA Holdings, UTokyo Innovation Platform, and Innovation Network Corporation of Japan. [28]

1. Astranis

Founded in 2015
Location: California, United States

Total Funding: $553.5 million
Growth Status: Explosive 

Astranis develops and launches cost-effective geostationary satellites that deliver broadband internet services to regions with limited connectivity. Their mission is to make high-speed internet accessible to everyone, regardless of location. 

They collaborate with telecommunications companies, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies to deploy their satellite technology and expand internet access to underserved communities. 

Unlike Starlink, which positions its satellites in low-Earth orbit (about 340 miles above Earth), Astranis intends to deploy internet satellites into geosynchronous equatorial orbit (approximately 22,000 miles above the ground). This higher orbit enables each satellite to cover a larger portion of the Earth’s surface. [29]

The company has secured $553.5 million through eight funding rounds, with $200 million raised in 2023 alone. Presently, it has the support of 47 investors, including Andreessen Horowitz, BlackRock, TriplePoint Capital, and Venrock. [30]

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Sources Cited and Additional References

  1. Transportation & Logistics, Leading airlines worldwide in 2023, ranked by brand value, Statista
  2. Aerospace & Defence Research, Global airlines market size by type of transport, VerifiedMarketResearch
  3. Abbey Donaldson, NASA awards contracts for flight, payload integration services, NASA.gov
  4. Event Details, Momentus Q3 2023 earnings call, Momentus Inc
  5. Product Page, Regional aircraft and transportation applications, Universal Hydrogen
  6. Kate Gundry, Universal Hydrogen’s agreement to bring hydrogen-powered flights to Japan, Universal Hydrogen
  7. Debra Werner, CesiumAstro wins NASA award to study wideband communications, Space News
  8. Company Financials, CesiumAstro funding rounds, Crunchbase
  9. Newsroom, First integrated drone delivery solution for laboratory samples and medical supplies in Africa, Wingcopter
  10. Ingrid Lunden, Wingcopter, Germany’s drone delivery startup, raises another $44M from the EIB, TechCrunch
  11. Adam Bluestein, How Beta Technologies has taken the lead in electric aircraft, Fast Company
  12. Michael Marrow, BETA Technologies delivers first manned electric aircraft to USAF, Breaking Defense
  13. Company Financials, Beta Technologies funding rounds, Crunchbase
  14. Homepage, Deployed by over 500 public safety agencies in all 50 States, BRINC
  15. Company Financials, Volocopter funding rounds, Crunchbase
  16. Advanced Air Mobility, Volocopter receives production certificate from German regulators, Aviation Week
  17. News & Stories, Alaska Airlines and ZeroAvia begin developing world’s largest zero-emission aircraft , Alaska Airlines
  18. Funding Round, Series C – ZeroAvia, Crunchbase
  19. Homepage, The most versatile small launch vehicle, Isar Aerospace
  20. Aria Alamalhodaei, Isar Aerospace raises $165 million to bring more sovereign launches to Europe, TechCrunch
  21. Benedikt Kammel, Lilium wins order for 20 electric jets from Florida’s Urbanlink, Bloomberg
  22. Company Highlights, Earnings history for Lilium, CompaniesMarketCap
  23. Newsroom, Joby flies quiet electric air taxi in New York City, Joby Aviation
  24. Financial Information, Consolidated balance sheet, Joby Aviation
  25. Our Technology, Operate from anywhere, Pyka
  26. News Releases, Pyka and SNC partner to offer large-scale all-electric cargo UAS to US Department of Defense, PR Newswire
  27. News, Astroscale unveils world’s first image of space debris captured through rendezvous and proximity operations, Astroscale
  28. Company Financials, Astroscale funding rounds, Crunchbase
  29. John Gedmark, Pound-for-pound the most powerful communications satellite ever for GEO, Astranis
  30. Lizette Chapman, Andreessen Horowitz leads fundraising for satellite startup Astranis, Bloomberg
Written by
Varun Kumar

I am a professional technology and business research analyst with more than a decade of experience in the field. My main areas of expertise include software technologies, business strategies, competitive analysis, and staying up-to-date with market trends.

I hold a Master's degree in computer science from GGSIPU University. If you'd like to learn more about my latest projects and insights, please don't hesitate to reach out to me via email at [email protected].

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