Its goal: to relieve congestion in cities by developing flying taxis using waterways.
It was in Annecy, not far from the shores of the lake, that Alain Thébault decided to set up his startup four years ago. Today, his ambitions have crossed borders. His new goal: to launch his new flying taxi in more than 50 cities in the next five years.
“SeaBubbles” of its name has just announced that it will enter series production its first vehicle next year, for marketing in stride. After four years of development, the founder of the French box and his small team have developed a shuttle vehicle, which can be used on waterways in cities that have them, like Paris obviously, but also Lyon, Bordeaux, or even Toulouse.
This electric machine, flying over the surface of the water, will thus decongest cities and offer its passengers express transport. In a promotional video posted by Mashable, SeaBubbles unveils its future service with a strong resemblance to the Uber VTC service. An application is available, and boarding stations will also serve as recharging points for the batteries.
Whether over water or on the French Tech landscape, SeaBubbles does not go unnoticed. Last year, a foreign investment fund made an offer to the French startup for a buyout of 65% of the capital. After announcing it to the general public, Alain Thébault had ended up reviewing his choice.
Man is aware of the potential for the future. The policies are there to support, like the mayoress of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, but also Bpifrance (which intends to green all of its investments ) and the European Union. To date, the startup SeaBubbles has raised 13 million euros. In view of the arrival of the marketing of its first vehicle and its plans for the future, it would not be surprising that these financing operations continue or even accelerate.
Because in addition to its flying taxi, comparable to Uber transport, SeaBubbles also intends to embark on public transport of the “water bus” type. For this, Alain Thébault has imagined machines with 12 or 32 places and is currently seeking to find an investor to finance its development. It would be called “HisBus” and could be assembled in Lyon, as reported by our colleagues from France 3 Auvergne Rhône-Alpes.
Until then, SeaBubbles will still have to pass a few obstacles. Already, since 2017, its founder explained that he had encountered many legislative obstacles, opposing the dynamics of policies. The administrative red tape would have been observed during the development of the flying taxi, and the current regulations will oblige the vehicle to respect a speed of 12 km / h while its capacities allow reaching 40 km / h in the calm of the electric motor and the comfort of a vehicle flying over the surface of the water by 50 centimeters.
Business to follow, while Alain Thébault declared this week: “We are finalizing the final version of SeaBubbles until December, then it goes into production at the start of 2021 for deliveries six months later”. In the sights of the startup, cities like Paris but also Dubai, Venice, and Zurich.