Whisper Aero, a quiet electric propulsion startup, raised $32 million in a Series A funding round. Funding will allow the tech company to advance its quiet electric ducted fan for drones and aircraft for US Defense Department applications.
With participation from Kindred Ventures, Abstract Ventures, Moving Capital, AeroX Ventures, Cosmos Ventures, Linse Capital, and LaunchTN, the round was headed by Menlo Ventures, EVE Atlas, Capricorn Investment Group, and Connor Capital.
Technology startup Whisper Aero is developing electric ducted fans that let drones and other aircraft fly faster, more efficiently, and cheaply without disturbing nearby communities.
To test performance and noise over the envelope, the company began with a 10 lbf demonstrator propeller that was statically tested and flown on a 55 lbm drone.
Through six DoD contracts and agreements totaling $2.2 million, Whisper has independently examined and validated its findings with help from the US Army, US Special Operations Command, and US Air Force.
Mark Moore, a former National Aeronautics and Space Administration engineer who later served as an executive in Uber Technologies Inc.’s once-bustling flying vehicle business, started the company in the middle of 2020.
Whisper Aero takes flight thanks to pandemic-induced attrition
Moore joined Uber Elevate in 2017 to aid Uber in building a massive fleet of flying cars that could soar above traffic. However, as the virus spread, Uber abandoned its sci-fi goals and sold its Elevate technology to Joby Aviation, a startup sponsored by Toyota, last year.
He bought a run-down hotel in Crossville, Tennessee, with part of the money he earned from driving for Uber and converted it into Whisper’s remote headquarters and development facility. The startup here began developing a novel thruster design.
This includes a fresh perspective on how control systems, motors, and propellers all fit into the airframe of a vehicle. As part of a contract with the Air Force, Whisper Aero has been testing its technology on drones.
To measure the noise signature, engineers brought their prototypes to the tennis and basketball courts at the resort and placed microphones all around them.
The technique has so far been successful in making the hum of the devices blend in with the environment. Moore wants to move the industry into the electric jet age because it is currently in the propeller age.
The new funding is proof of the startup’s tireless efforts over the past few years to transform the drone business worldwide.