Germany’s Lilium has turned to Silicon Valley to recruit its new chief financial officer, Geoffrey Richardson. The eVTOL aircraft developer announced his appointment on November 20, hailing his 20 years of experience in international finance, mergers and acquisitions, fundraising, and operations.
In his most recent position as CFO of autonomous car company Cruise, Richardson raised more than $7 billion in capital for the startup in three separate fundraising deals with strategic and financial investors. U.S.-based Cruise has more than 800 full-time employees and Lilium, which was formed in 2015, now has 600 people on the payroll.
On November 11, Lilium announced a major new partnership in the U.S., with plans to partner with property developer Tavistock Development Company to make the Orlando-area development Lake Nona the first vertiport base in a planned air mobility network across the state of Florida. The plan calls for commercial flights to begin in 2025.
So far, Lilium has raised more than $375 million in capital, with investors mainly consisting of venture capital groups, including Atomico, Tencent, Baillie Gifford, LGT, Freigeist, and Obvious Ventures. The company has not said when or if it might need to raise further funds to support the completion of type certification for its five-seat, all-electric Lilium Jet (anticipated by the end of 2024). However, the appointment of Richardson seems to suggest the European group might be looking to find a more direct route to some Silicon Valley gold.
Before his time with Cruise, Lilium’s new CFO had the same role with dynamic glass company Kinestral. While there, he oversaw the company’s Series B and Series C funding rounds. Previously, he spent almost seven years in investment banking with Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.
In August, Lilium announced that former CFO Christopher Delbruck would be leaving the company, citing “family reasons.” He had joined the company from German energy group Uniper SE in 2019, at which point it had raised only $100 million in capital.