February 19, 2023

Can a Bill Gates-backed electric plane really stay in the air? — Startup Europe, The Sifted Podcast

Swedish startup Heart Aerospace hopes to build a plane even. Greta Thunberg would fly on

Steph Bailey

2 min read

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On the podcast this week, we kick off with a small startup which has some big dreams. Lumai — a spinoff from the University of Oxford — landed a £1.1m  grant from the UK government’s national innovation agency this week to work on optical computing technology, that it says will help power the AI revolution.

Next we chat about German edtech Knowunity, which is trying to be a "TikTok for schoolwork".  The startup raised €9m as an extension to a €10m round it closed last year.


Then we get into a new €3.75bn fund pot to back late stage VCs. The fund of funds was announced by European investment bank — as well as the governments of Germany, France, Spain, Italy and Belgium. 

For our first interview we're joined by Mimi Billing, Sifted’s Nordic correspondent. We discussed the new full-body scanner being developed by Spotify founder Daniel Ek's new healthtech startup Neko (which she tried out), as well as Bill Gates-backed Swedish startup Heart Aerospace's ambitions to build an electric plane with a 200km range in the air by 2028.

Lastly, we chat to Caitlin Wale, an investor at a new VC fund called Counteract. It’s the world’s first investment fund specifically focussed on backing carbon removal companies, and this week it launched with a £15m first close

Steph Bailey

Steph Bailey is head of content at Sifted. Follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn