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Friday Funding: Merlin Labs Snags $105 Million in Series B Round

Snowpoint and Baillie Gifford Lead Round

Autonomous aviation company Merlin Labs snagged $105 million in a Series B round that was led by Snowpoint and Baillie Gifford. GV (GOOGL), previously Google Ventures, also participated. With this latest funding, Merlin has $130 million in total. Though significant, that falls short of some competitors’ capital raises. Shield AI, which makes autonomous flying systems for the military, recently bagged $165 million.

Merlin asserts that with the money available it has already successfully created “8+ figures of revenue.”

Autonomous Flight System

The startup created an autonomous flight system for installation in existing aircraft. It has since acquired approval from the FAA and New Zealand’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) for its “certification basis” for its autonomous system. Merlin entered into several partnerships, including one with the US Air Force. The air service branch of the military will use its systems in some of their cargo plans.

Merlin utilizes sophisticated software to determine a plane’s position and altitude using external and onboard instruments.

Proposed Solution To High Transportation Costs

Merlin CEO Matt George has stated the company’s mission is to “increase pilot safety and operational flexibility by adding autonomous systems to existing aircraft.” He envisions a solution to current challenges in the aviation industry, including escalating transportation costs and a pilot shortage. He asserts that his system will support pilots by providing a robo co-pilot.

To this end, George will use the latest capital infusion for further testing, building a system for the so-called part-135 freight aircraft in New Zealand, and hiring more employees. If he is successful, the prospect of cost efficiencies could be reflected in air fares.

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James Flippin ABOUT James Flippin James Flippin is the son of a financial advisor who grew up hearing and learning about bond yields, interest rates, the stock market, and the ins and outs of Wall Street. After stints as a licensing and business broker for Marcus and Millichap in New York City, James moved into broadcasting and became a reporter and anchor. He covered crime, politics, finance, and tech at NBC News Radio while working part-time as a producer for SiriusXM. James graduated from the University of Delaware with a bachelor’s degree in political science and economics. He's also an accomplished podcaster with over 10-years of experience.

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