Japan’s TDK Ventures invests in air mobility firm AutoFlightX

TDK Ventures, the corporate venture arm of Japanese electronics firm TDK Corporation, has invested an undisclosed amount in AutoFlightX, an electric air mobility company headquartered in Munich, Germany and with R&D centres in Shanghai and Shenzhen.

AutoFlightX, which started in February 2018, is involved in the development, production, sales, and operation of electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles. The vehicles can be used as regularly piloted sports aircraft, as unmanned highly automated cargo drones, and as unpiloted highly automated air taxis.

Its 50-kilogram platform can carry payloads of up to 20 kg and has a flight time of two to five hours continuous cruise. The company also has a pipeline of platforms that can carry up to 300 kg and can fly two to five hours, depending on the payload.

The startup was founded by Tian YU, the former founder and CEO of Chinese aircraft manufacturer Yuneec, with a vision to transform air mobility.

AutoFlightX is the fourth investment by the $50-million TDK corporate venture capital fund since its launch in July 2019. The fund is targeting to dole out cheques of up to $2.5 million for each bet in innovative startups focusing on digital and energy transformation and contributing to sustainability.

“We believe AutoFlightX’s innovations reflect a combination of the best consumer drone talent from China paired with the aviation engineering rigor of Germany,” said TDK Ventures’ Managing Director Nicolas Sauvage.

The fund’s three other portfolio companies are SLD Laser, a US-based manufacturer of new generation visible laser light sources; Wheels, operator of a shared electric mobility platform; and Starship Technologies, a robotics company building a network of autonomous delivery robots.

TDK Ventures has been scouting for companies to invest in as it seeks to carve out its path in the alternative assets industry.

Its investments are more strategic in nature as it seeks to bolster innovation in material science, energy/power and related areas that are typically underrepresented in venture capital portfolios.

The fund is seeking to back early-stage startups, innovators and university researchers in the areas of industrial internet of things (IIoT), magnetics, piezoelectrics, dielectrics, semiconductors, organic materials, and neuro-electricals, both from a pure fundamental material approach up to a full-stack approach.

TDK Corporation is an electronics company based in Tokyo, Japan. The company has a network of design and manufacturing locations and sales offices in Asia, Europe, and in North and South America. In fiscal 2019, TDK posted total sales of $12.5 billion and employed about 105,000 people worldwide.

Singapore Reporter/s

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Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

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  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.