Hermeus caps Series A funding round at $16m
Hermeus, the aerospace company developing Mach 5 aircraft, announced today that it has closed a $16m Series A funding round led by Canaan Partners. In addition to Canaan, the round includes continued support from Khosla Ventures, Bling Capital, and Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund.
With the capital, Hermeus plans to build the foundational capabilities for high-speed flight, as well as recruit a team. The company will develop and ground test a full-scale engine which will power its first Mach 5 aircraft. The engine prototype 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. Hermeus also plans some further design changes to the aircraft.
“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.
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.
“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.”
The Hermeus team includes alumni from SpaceX, Blue Origin, NASA, Boeing, GE, and Honeywell. At Mach 5 – over 3000 miles per hour – the company is proposing a decrease in flight times from New York to London to 90 minutes compared with seven hours.