German flying taxi start-up Lilium is to list on the US stock market via a reverse merger with Qell Acquisition Corp, a blank-cheque acquisition company started by former General Motors Co. North America President Barry Engle.
The deal will list Lilium on the Nasdaq and value the combined companies at $3.3bn (£2.3bn, €2.8bn).
Lilium will bring in proceeds of $830m, including about $380m in cash currently held in trust and $450m from private investments in public equity.
Munich-based Lilium is competing to deploy battery-powered aircraft that can take off and land vertically, offering a new way for travellers to beat urban traffic and travel quickly between cities.
Lilium said the merger with Qell would support its plan to get a seven-seater vertical takeoff and landing aircraft completed and ready to launch a commercial passenger service in 2024.
Later, with more funding, the company plans to build a 16-seat model to move passengers across congested cities at rates like that of high-speed rail.
It joins US rival Joby in merging with a listed shell company to raise new money in its billions, on top of heavy funding already raised from venture capital backers.