Hybrid Air Vehicles launches £2m Airlander crowdfunding drive

Posted on 31 Mar 2015 by Callum Bentley

As innovators themselves, Hybrid Air Vehicles, the developers of the Airlander aircraft, are tapping into this new and growing market to satisfy demand from its supporters.

In February 2015, HAV secured a Government grant of up to £3.4 million through the Regional Growth Fund (subject to due diligence).  In order to match fund this, HAV are using Crowdcube’s platform to raise £2 million, with a potential to over fund should there be demand.

The money will be used for returning the Airlander to flight, hence the campaign hashtag, #PrepareForTakeOff.

The equity-based crowdfunding market was worth over £100 million in the UK last year, up by over 200% year-on-year.

Airlander, Hybrid Air Vehicle 1
Airlander 10 taxing out of the US Hangar in Lakehurst, New Jersey, ahead of her first, successful 90 minute test flight in 2012.

Hybrid Air Vehicles’ existing shareholders include PLC Chairmen, Business Angels and Professional Investors.  The company currently has around 150 shareholders who collectively have invested over £9 million in the company since its formation in 2007.  HAV have benefited from £60 million of investment in the aircraft from the US Government and a total of over £5 million of UK Government grants.  This Crowdfunding equity raise values the company at £36 million after the fundraising has closed.

HAV’s CEO, Stephen McGlennan said, “We are the market leaders of an independently validated $50 billion market.  We’re offering a chance for investors to jump on board and be part of our journey as we prepare for take-off.”

Through the crowdfunding campaign, HAV are sharing the summary of a new independent market summary2, which shows the market for this new type of aircraft is worth $50 billion over the next 20 years.  The company’s business plan expects a valuation of the company of between £300-500 million within 5 years, and in this process 1,800 new jobs will be created in the UK.

Airlanders are low noise, low pollution, and are environmentally-friendly.  They have ultra-long endurance, and a point-to-point cargo-carrying capacity.  They can take off and land vertically and operate from a range of remote environments including water, desert, ice and fields.

Local enthusiast, Trevor Monk, who lives a stone throw from the huge Cardington Hangars where Hybrid Air Vehicles is based, said, “Having grown up in Cardington and following the HAV team’s development of the Airlander, I can honestly say that lighter-than-air  is back home.  As a child I was fascinated with airships and Cardington; as an Adult that same excited feeling you get when you see a ship and the sheds is still there.  Exciting times lay ahead.  I saw an airship at Cardington for the first time when I was 3, it is my earliest memory, now many years later I am very honoured to say I will see the next step in their evolution.”

Hybrid Air Vehicle, Airlander, team
The Hybrid Air Vehicle team

About Hybrid Air Vehicles:
Founded in 2007, Hybrid Air Vehicles is the company behind the innovative Airlander range of hybrid aircraft.  They utilise new aerospace technology that combines the best of the characteristics of fixed wing aircraft and helicopters with lighter-than-air technology to create a new breed of hyper-efficient aircraft, with a significantly lower carbon footprint and operating cost than other forms of air transport.

The Airlander 10 is designed to stay airborne for up to five days at a time to fulfil a wide range of communication and survey roles, as well as cargo carrying and tourist passenger flights .

Hybrid Air Vehicles are in receipt of a £2.5 million InnovateUK grant in conjunction with 2 other UK aerospace SME’s (BBSR and Forward Composites) and the Universities of Cranfield, Liverpool and Sheffield.  The remaining funding is from private individuals.