Hermeus Receives Funding Round for Hypersonic Aircraft

 - November 19, 2020, 10:10 AM
Hermeus "designed from scratch, built, and successfully tested a Mach 5 engine prototype in only nine months” and demonstration of that engine helped lead to an initial U.S. Air Force contract. (Photo: Hermeus)

Hermeus Corp., the aerospace startup that landed a U.S. Air Force contract toward the development of a hypersonic business jet for presidential travel, closed a $16 million Series A funding round that the company said will help build “foundational capabilities” in its quest to develop a Mach 5 aircraft.

In August, the company announced it received an “Other Transaction for Prototype Agreement Direct to Phase II” contract from the U.S. Air Force and the Presidential and Executive Airlift Directorate, adding that the award followed the successful test of a Mach 5 capable engine prototype in February. Hermeus, which was founded in 2018 and stood up its board of investors with its initial seed investment a year later, said it “designed from scratch, built, and successfully tested a Mach 5 engine prototype in only nine months.”

As it announced the latest round of funding, Hermeus gave a snapshot of an initial test facility that it said went “from open field to engine tests in two months” and added that plans call for an expanded test facility in Atlanta that will also be capable of light manufacturing.

The company is working toward the development and ground test of a full-scale engine that will power its first Mach 5 aircraft. In addition, Hermeus is working on the design of that aircraft and anticipates details to be released in upcoming months for the project that it believes will be a decade in the making.

"Hermeus has consistently hit aggressive milestones on short timelines—anyone familiar with the industry should be impressed by their progress and innovative approach to product iteration. The technology has the potential to accelerate capabilities at the same scale we saw in rockets and satellites over the last decade," said Rich Boyle, general partner at Canaan, which led the latest funding round. "This is the team—with deep industry experience and a vision for what’s possible—best positioned to deliver us Mach 5 flight."

The Hermeus team comprises aerospace veterans from SpaceX, Blue Origin, NASA, Boeing, GE, and Honeywell, the company added.

“Our goal at Hermeus is to fundamentally and sustainably redefine human connection by accelerating the global transportation network five times over," said CEO AJ Piplica. "As we grow, we continue to attract the very best people, diverse in perspective and united in purpose, determined to achieve what some people think is impossible—creating a substantially faster future."