US start-up XTi Aircraft has extended by a month the window for crowdfunding stakeholders to invest in its TriFan 600 vertical take-off and landing business aircraft, and says it will establish an over-the-counter secondary market to allow current and future shareholders to buy and sell XTi shares on the open market.
The Denver-based firm received approval on 21 January from the US Securities and Exchange Commission to convert the pledges raised through crowdfunding website startengine.com into shares.
“We had received 2,000 expressions of interest totalling around $20 million when the funding window opened in late January,” says XTi founder and chairman David Brody. “Many of these have been converted into shares and we now plan to close the first round of equity crowd funding in the middle of April.”
In 2005, Brody founded AVX Aircraft, which he says has been heavily involved in ducted fan technology for use in military and civilian aircraft, and has been bankrolling the TriFan 600 programme since its inception three years ago.
“I am now focused on the TriFan 600 configuration,” says Brody, who is also a popular science author and laywer. "I am passionate about aircraft, science and technology. This is going to be a game-changing aircraft that combines the speed, range and comfort of a business jet with the ability to take-off and land like a helicopter.”
The conceptual design phase is complete, he says, with the programme now ready to move on to the preliminary design.
To fund the next phase of development, XTi is seeking to raise between $70 million and $80 million through equity crowd funding, institutional investment and from high net-worth individuals.
To increase the company's appeal to investors, Brody says it will offer stakeholders an opportunity to trade their XTi shares on the secondary market as the firm expands. “The shares owned by everyone who invests in the ongoing equity crowdfunding could be traded in a manner similar to the stock of large companies that is traded on the New York Stock Exchange and other exchanges," he says.
XTi aims to roll out the first TriFan 600 prototype in three years, with certification to take an additional four years.