South Korean industrial giant Hanwha announced on July 11 that it was investing $25M in a spin-off from Karem Aircraft, Inc., dedicated to bringing its all-electric air taxi vehicle, Butterfly, to market. The Butterfly is being developed for Uber Elevate and uses Karem’s Optimum Speed Rotor technology to power a vectored-thrust vehicle with four large rotors mounted on the wings and tail. Butterfly’s large, slow-turning rotors provide efficient lift and reduced noise, which is key for operating at scale in cities.
Hanwha Systems is leading the $25M Series A investment into the new air taxi company, provisionally named K4 Aeronautics, pending regulatory approval. Hanwha brings financial support, a deep history of manufacturing and industrial scale to accelerate the Butterfly air taxi vehicle to market.
The new company team includes CEO Ben Tigner, Chief Commercial Officer Ryan Doss, and renowned aircraft designer and serial entrepreneur Abe Karem, who will serve as the Chief Designer for both Karem Aircraft and the new venture, splitting time between the two companies. (Hanwha Systems CEO Chang Si-kweon (left) and K4 Aeronautics chief Ben Tigner. Hanwha System photo)