Tycoon dubbed Britain’s answer to Elon Musk set to become a billionaire when his flying taxi start-up floats in New York
A tycoon dubbed Britain’s answer to Elon Musk is set to become a billionaire when his flying taxi start-up floats in New York.
Stephen Fitzpatrick, 43, founded Vertical Aerospace in 2016 and will see his stake valued at more than £700m when it lists on the stock market. He also owns a £600m stake in energy giant Ovo, which he founded, taking his overall wealth to well over £1billion.
He is a former banker and Conservative Party donor who has been likened to Tesla boss Musk.
Britain’s Elon Musk: Stephen Fitzpatrick founded Vertical Aerospace in 2016 and will see his stake valued at more than £700m when it lists on the stock market
The Belfast-born businessman started Ovo in 2009 and led the firm through a takeover of rival SSE, Britain’s second-biggest supplier, a decade later. At a London party to mark its tenth birthday, compere Lauren Laverne claimed Ovo was ‘hoping to redefine the limits of human progress’.
Vertical Aerospace, which counts Rolls-Royce and American Airlines among its backers, is set to float in New York by reversing into a special purpose acquisition company (Spac) in a £1.6billion deal.
The Bristol firm is developing electrically-powered aircraft, which take off and land vertically, designed to travel almost silently at cruise speeds of 200 miles per hour, carrying four passengers.
So far Vertical has orders for up to 1,000 aircraft from Avolon and American Airlines, worth around £2.8billion. Europe’s top regulator said last month the region could see the first flying taxis enter service by 2024, with Vertical set to begin test flights later this year. The deal is expected to close in the second half of 2021.