ICON Aircraft has closed a $25 million round of equity funding, which will fund the company through the completion of its engineering development program, manufacturing setup, and the beginning of production of its A5 amphibious sport plane.
The financing was led by U.S. and U.K. venture investors Satyen Patel and Bart Becht, who have expertise in building consumer product companies. Other participating investors in the round included Eric Schmidt, chairman of Google, Phil Condit, former chairman/CEO of Boeing, and several Silicon Valley venture capitalists. ICON will receive $15 million initially, with an option for an additional $10 million, according to company officials.
“We are honored to have the confidence, support, and enthusiasm of such great investors,” said Kirk Hawkins, ICON Aircraft’s CEO and founder. “That we were able to successfully raise funds in this time of economic uncertainty demonstrates ICON’s unique and compelling market appeal. Not only does ICON have an extraordinary aircraft and an all-star team, but the consumer response to the A5 has been overwhelming, as confirmed by an order backlog of nearly 500 aircraft ($85 million).”
In conjunction with this financing, Patel and Becht joined the company’s board of directors. Patel is the former head of NIKE in Asia, while Becht will retire in September as CEO of the U.K. consumer products giant, Reckitt Benckiser.
Flight testing of the A5 is continuing, now focused on finalizing the company’s newly designed spin-resistant wing, as well as refining directional stability, according to company officials. Flight testing is scheduled to conclude in the coming months. ICON continues to expand its engineering and manufacturing team to support the completion of the development program in 2011, as well as the transition to production in 2012. ICON has revised its production start date to the fourth quarter of 2012.
“The unprecedented disruptions in the capital markets during the past two years have challenged every aircraft company out there, and ICON is no exception. While these difficulties have delayed our production start, we’re excited that those challenges are behind us now and that we’re funded through production. There is a lot of work and some risk still ahead, but ICON continues its uncompromising commitment to safety and excellence. We remain laser focused on delivering our customers the coolest sport plane on the planet,” said Hawkins.
For more information: IconAircraft.com