Flying Whales is joining a contest that includes defense giant Lockheed Martin Corp. and a clutch of smaller players. What's different about the latest project is the combined benefit of the blimp being able to lift an industry-leading 60 tons, but without any requirement for mooring pylons.
The company has already secured about $246 million in capital. It plans an initial public offering in 2021, when a prototype is slated for its first flight.
"There have been a lot of blimp projects over time and there have been many failures," Flying Whales founder and CEO Sebastien Bougon said in an interview. "We have a solid base. The wood market alone justifies our investments, and we've got low-risk prospects beyond."