Atlanta-Based Aerospace Startup Hermeus Raises $16M Series A in Race to Hypersonic Speeds
Monday, November 2nd, 2020
Hermeus, the aerospace company developing Mach 5 aircraft, announced today that it has closed a $16 million Series A funding round led by Canaan Partners, with Rich Boyle joining the company's Board of Directors. In addition to Canaan, the round includes continued support from Khosla Ventures, Bling Capital, and Revolution's Rise of the Rest Seed Fund.
With this capital, Hermeus will be building the foundational capabilities for high-speed flight, as well as the dedicated team that will enable its successes. Hermeus will develop and ground test a full-scale engine which will power the company's first Mach 5 aircraft, scaled up from the engine prototype which was successfully tested in February 2020. An expanded Atlanta test facility will enable light in-house manufacturing and local test capability, which will be followed by high-speed wind tunnel testing across the full range of flight speeds. Additionally, the Hermeus team will be advancing the design of its first aircraft, with more details to be released in the coming months.
"Hermeus has consistently hit aggressive milestones on short timelines – anyone familiar with the industry should be impressed by their progress and innovative approach to product iteration. The technology has the potential to accelerate capabilities at the same scale we saw in rockets and satellites over the last decade. It is thrilling to imagine a world where airplanes travel five times faster than they do today," said Rich Boyle, General Partner at Canaan. "This is the team – with deep industry experience and a vision for what’s possible – best positioned to deliver us Mach 5 flight."
Achieving Mach 5 flight is obviously a big swing, but Hermeus has selected this speed for very specific reasons. The core technologies are relatively mature: the specific engine components have been flying since the 1950s, robust flight controls have been proven well beyond Mach 5, and the materials for this speed limit are now commercially available. The highly technical Hermeus team includes alumni from SpaceX, Blue Origin, NASA, Boeing, GE, and Honeywell, bringing together the best of traditional aerospace and NewSpace.
"We've normalized to the speed at which we move about our planet for over half a century. Our goal at Hermeus is to fundamentally and sustainably redefine human connection by accelerating the global transportation network five times over," said CEO AJ Piplica. "We are pursuing a goal so difficult that it has never been achieved before, and yet so impactful that it is the single most important way we can spend our time. As we grow, we continue to attract the very best people, diverse in perspective and united in purpose, determined to achieve what some people think is impossible - creating a substantially faster future."