The dream of flying taxis lifting Miamians above traffic gridlock got closer to reality this week after the Federal Aviation Administration gave an initial approval to allow Palo Alto, Calif.,-based Archer Aviation to deploy its five-passenger, half helicopter-half airplane vehicles in the skies.
The FAA’s so-called G-1 Issue Paper is one step in a series that must still occur for Archer to reach its goal of launching service in Miami and Los Angeles in 2024.
Still, it shows the vehicles are more than a pipe dream.
The announcement comes shortly after the news that Archer had agreed to a deal with Miami-based REEF to tap REEF’s network of parking garages and their roofs as takeoff and landing sites for Archer vehicles.
In fact, the agreement with Archer represents the second deal REEF has signed with a flying taxi company this year. Earlier, REEF announced a similar deal with Santa Cruz, Calif.,-based Joby, another flying taxi company that has announced intentions to fly in Miami. The agreements state that each company would gain exclusive access to individual sites.
According to industry tracking website eVTOL.com, Joby and a third competitor Lilium, have already announced receipt of a G-1 issue paper or its European equivalent.
Archer System Simulation Lead Jon Petersen told the Miami Herald that the company is focused on finding local flight patterns, like to Miami International Airport from downtown, Miami Beach, or Fort Lauderdale, that would economize the service. Archer has previously said it hopes to make trips at $4 per mile possible.
“We are quite confident that we are going to be hitting these milestones,” Petersen said.
Musk tunnel proposal gets closer look
Fort Lauderdale officials have begun hiring outside experts to examine a proposal from Elon Musk’s Boring Co. to build a tunnel under the city after an Aug. 30 deadline passed with Boring Co. as the sole qualified bidder.
The proposal would see Boring construct a tunnel under Las Olas Boulevard connecting the downtown area to the beach. Passengers would travel inside dedicated Teslas that would eventually be self-driving, similar to the existing Boring Co. loop in Las Vegas.
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez has plans for a much more extensive network that would span as much as eight miles underneath downtown Miami.
Fuel VC’s new office in the Grove
Fuel Venture Capital Partners, which began seeding Miami-based startups long before the current Miami tech moment, opened its new offices in Coconut Grove Thursday.
Founded in Wynwood in 2017, Fuel has deployed more than $50 million to date to South Florida-based companies alone, including boat rental platform Boatsetter, tax software firm Taxfyle, and scooter company Bolt.
“Fuel Venture Capital set roots in Miami during a time when it was unorthodox to be championing the creative economy,” Jeff Ransdell, Founding Partner and Managing Director of Fuel VC, said in a statement. “But my faith in our city’s potential to be fertile ground for startup innovation was always strong, and our fund’s growth serves as additional evidence of my commitment to growing alongside the community around it.”
Formerly known as Rokk3r Fuel, Fuel VC signed a co-investing partnership last year with Madrid-based IDC Ventures to expand its European presence as part of a rebranding effort. With that agreement, the Fuel Venture Capital portfolio now features some 25 companies.
In February, Fuel led a $70 million investment round in Brazil-based fintech firm RecargaPay — one of the largest South American venture deals of the year.
Black Girl Ventures pitch competition lineup
Black Girl Ventures, which creates access to capital for Black and Brown female founders, is holding its Miami Pitch Competition Sept. 23-Sept. 30.
The finalists are:
- Larissa Maloney, founder of Active Kids 2.0, a workout platform for youngsters
Emmanuelle Lewis-Jolley, founder of Sound Mind and Body Wellness, a self-care booking platform
Rishielle Giscombe, founder of Glamo, a beauty-on-demand marketplace
Natacha Metayer, founder of JNCY Jewelers custom engagement ring and fine jewelry hub
Yolanda Perkins, founder of Blenditone Undies underwear for children
Olunwa Ikpeazu, founder of fashion platform Etniciti
Candy Calderon, founder of Glow Wellness Tour, a health and wellness community, educational platform and event series
Audiences can watch and vote with their dollars for their favorite businesses on the Black Girl Ventures website, blackgirlventures.org. The event is sponsored by the Knight Foundation.
Knight Foundation’s latest tech investments
The Knight Foundation unveiled $510,000 in new tech investments in the Miami community. They are:
- Haitians in Tech ($150K): To support aspiring and established technologists in the Haitian diaspora who provide resources, training and networking opportunities to advance tech careers.
- Local Leaders Collective ($140K): To back a membership organization of Miami entrepreneurs who support each other through peer mentoring.
- Miami-Dade County ($120K): To establish the role of Technology and Innovation Advisor in the Miami-Dade County mayor’s office. Francesca de Quesada Covey, a veteran technologist who has specialized in public-private partnerships, will serve as the inaugural advisor.
- The Shrimp Society ($100K): To support a community of early-stage founders and venture builders that creates on-ramps into Miami’s startup ecosystem.