Tag Archives: Dubai

Air taxi Volocopter takes off with €5 million funding for urban mobility

Commentary

After its Dubai test flight last September, Volocopter raised €5 million in another funding round led by Intel and btov Partners. Volocopter draws deep inspiration from rising urbanization for its alternative mobility carrier. The Volocopter 2X aircraft has been designed with features much fitted for an urban air taxi – ultralight, quiet, electric, and it allows for a vertical takeoff, which enables a runway-free takeoff.  Moreover, its intelligent system can facilitate air-taxi hailing services with the use of smartphones.  Recently, developments in the aero-tech space have sparked interest and demand in the flying car sector. For example, Dubai’s flying taxi tests form part of the city’s goal to have autonomous cars handling 25% of passenger transport by 2030.  Meanwhile, Uber’s Elevate Summit held last April kicked off its aviation-on-demand project by partnering with Bell Helicopter and Aurora Flight Services, among others. 

Amazon acquires Souq.com

Commentary

After dominating the US and European ecommerce markets and having its presence felt in India and China, Amazon is setting its sights on an even more ambitious goal: to conquer the Middle East. The ecommerce giant recently acquired Dubai-based Souq.com, the biggest ecommerce platform in the Middle East for $650 million. Described as a clone of Amazon, Souq.com boasts of having 45 million site visits per month and delivers to seven countries including the UAE, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and Qatar. According to reports, although the entry of Amazon could bolster the ecommerce industry in the region, the acquisition is not the ideal exit investors had hope for Souq.com, which was already valued at $1 billion during its last round of funding in 2016.