Why we invested: Greenjets
The first recorded attempt at manned flight goes back to around 1000 A.D. The Turkish scholar and apparent daredevil, al-Djawhari, fell to his death after tying two planks to his arms and jumping from a mosque. We can then wind forward past the Wright Brothers in 1903, to the jet engine, an evolution of the gas turbine first practically proposed by Frank Whittle in 1928.
The dawn of mass market commercial aviation was the 1950’s, with the Comet. In the 1960’s we saw the market diverge, Boeing going for size with the first true jumbo jet, the 747, and France and Britain launching Concorde.
This pursuit for speed ended with the (sad) retirement of Concorde in 2003. Today’s planes fly no faster than a Boeing 707 from 1957.
There have been efficiency gains. The Boeing 787, which first flew in 2011, is 70% more efficient than the 707. We’re now reaching a plateau for fuel efficiency, but the environmental impact of carbon fuel jet engines remains high. The next frontier for aviation is decarbonization.
Greenjets is powering this new frontier of sustainable aviation, building the quietest, safest, and most efficient electric propulsion systems on the planet.
We were the first institutional investor in Anmol and Guido, who have redesigned electric propulsion from the ground up. Their ducted fan electric engines are ten times quieter than traditional forms of engine used by drones and air taxis. Greenjets are building the foundation for the future of on-demand, autonomous point-to-point aviation, with minimal impact on our planet.
Aviation is the fastest growing source of CO2 emissions. While the industry accounts for 5% of global emissions today, this figure is set to rise to over 40% by 2050.
Larger emission-free aircraft are under development worldwide using hydrogen and other technologies, but the roll out of smaller air vehicles, such as drones and air taxis, has been limited by the noise of their propulsion systems, something air taxi and drone builders have found harder to solve than they expected. This noise leads to curfews, bans, and restrictions, which are slowing the development of the industry. It's the reason you don’t see helicopters dropping executives atop their office buildings in the centre of our big cities - it's not the safety, it's the noise.
Greenjets has developed a range of ducted electric jet engines, which are 94% quieter than the electric propeller systems used today. Their unique technology focuses on psychoacoustics: the “annoyance” level of the sound created by the engine. The units also deliver a 45% boost in efficiency, crucial when relying on battery power. This translates to a 70% increase in the maximum thrust per engine, along with a shielded system that is significantly safer to operate.
Providing “green propulsion as a service”, Greenjets can help reduce development times for those building electric airframes by a factor of 10, whether hovercraft, airships, manned aircraft, or multirotor drones.
Its first unit, the miniaturised IPM5 system for the $10bn small drone market, has already been shipped to Greenjet’s first wave of customers, laying the foundation for the company’s expansion into larger commercial aviation.
Prior to his work at Blue Bear Systems - a leader in autonomous air mobility from which Greenjets ultimately spun out - Anmol spent five years leading teams at Rolls Royce, on the development of future aircraft platforms, but became frustrated by the time-to-market in such a large organisation.
Anmol left an incredibly strong impression from his first meeting with us at 7percent, with a quiet but confident demeanour to match his academic pedigree from IIT in India and Imperial College London. Guido, his co-founder, who he met while leading product and engineering at Blue Bear, brings similar expertise in technical innovation, having previously led engine teams at BAE Systems, Cosworth and Cranfield University.
To complement them, Anmol and Guido have assembled a team of engineering excellence from Boeing, BAE, FlyZero, and General Electric. The team has also forged early partnerships with leading academic institutions at the Universities of Cambridge, Bristol, and Salford.
Greenjets intends to become the Rolls Royce or GE of the electric aviation industry and with over $30m in LOIs as at the end of 2023, we’re excited to be part of this future aviation prime.