Supersonic Jet Startup Boom Technology Is Now a Unicorn

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Boom Technology Inc., a Colorado-based startup working on a new supersonic aircraft, is raising a $50 million funding round that will bring the company’s valuation to more than $1 billion, according to Chief Executive Officer Blake Scholl.

The investment, led by WRVI Capital’s Michael Marks, brings Boom’s total funding to $210 million, and takes the company one step closer to its objective of broadly accessible high-speed flight.

“Our goal is to make high-speed jets the cheapest option out there,” Scholl said. Much as Tesla Inc. started with luxury automobiles and eventually produced vehicles with price points middle-class consumers could afford, Boom plans to start with fares roughly equal to business class before bringing them down to economy-class levels.

Don’t make travel plans just yet. The plane is still in the design phase, with ascaled-down prototype scheduled to fly next year. Boom plans to break ground on a factory for full-scaled aircraft in 2022. If it can stick to its schedule, it could start a test flights for its first commercial plane by 2026. All that will require more funding, Scholl said.

Still, carriers including Japan Airlines have already placed preorders for the jets, which will be able to fly twice as fast as existing commercial aircraft.

Boom Supersonic, as the company is known, was founded in 2014 by Scholl, who previously built a mobile-shopping app startup he sold to Groupon Inc.

Boom’s existing investors include philanthropist Laurene Powell Jobs’s Emerson Collective, Stripe co-founder John Collison, venture firm Bolt and Y Combinator Continuity.

The Concorde, a previous supersonic carrier, stopped flying in 2003. Because Boom can tap new technology, such as using carbon fiber to build the body of the plane, it expects to use less fuel and hold other advantages over the Concorde. It will also run entirely on renewable fuels, Scholl said.

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