The next billion-dollar startup will be in aerospace

Late last month, 500 people from around the world gathered in Dallas at Uber’s inaugural Elevate Summit.

The invite-only conference was the next actionable step forward, post-Uber’s white paper published last fall, “Fast-Forwarding to a Future of On-Demand Urban Air Transportation,” to catalyze the emerging ecosystem around what Uber, along with partners in aerospace, aviation, and energy storage, see as the next unicorn transportation sector.

On the back of the incredible innovations that have disrupted today’s urban transit systems, with new ride-share models, electric energy and autonomous technologies, urban air mobility is poised for massive growth over the next five years.

At Elevate, with the entire ecosystem gathered in one place, the discussions ranged from identifying key markets and players with commercially viable vehicles to enabling technologies, like battery storage, and aircraft certification and policy, like FAA regulations. After more than 20 years in the aerospace sector, uniting early-stage tech innovators with private capital, my takeaway at the end of this three-day event is that urban air mobility is no longer a future-tech vision… it’s happening now.

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