Google Ex-CEO Eric Schmidt Bets On Ankur Bhatnagar’s Startup skyTran; Invests With Series A Funding
A path breaking transportation company named skyTran, whose sole Indian co-founder is Ankur Bhatnagar, has received Series A funding from Eric Schmidt, one of the founders of Internet giant Google.
Eric has invested an undisclosed amount into skyTran via his personal venture capital fund named Innovation Endeavors.
Ankur Bhatnagar, who is one of the co-founders in this company, is presently working as Vice President, overseeing business development activities. Alumnus of both IIT Roorkee and IIT Kanpur, Ankur has over 17 years of experience in connecting business with technology; and has previously worked with companies such as Wipro, Miebach Consulting, PricewaterhouseCoopers and 2ergo.
skyTran is a Nasa Space Act company, headquartered at Nasa Ames Research Center California (USA). They had earlier received funding from US Department of Transportation as well.
As per their website, it provides third generation Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) technology, which is “a patented, high-speed, low-cost, elevated” system of transportation operated by a computer. Using futuristic SkyTran Magnetic Levitation (STML) technology, this transportation system uses a “2-person jet-like vehicles” to move passengers in an economical, safe and green way.
Using Nasa’s patented technologies and research work, skyTran has recently partnered with a leading aviation firm to fully test their transportation system on high speed with full payload. This recent round of investment will help the company to perform more rigorous testing, which will enable them to come out in the market sooner.
Check out this TedX India video of Skytran CEO Jerry Saunders talking about skyTran.
As per Ankur, skyTran can be introduced in India within two years, and once implemented; it can be a game changer. The biggest advantage of skyTran is that, it doesn’t rely on roads, but rather flies above the surface, thereby bypassing vehicular traffic and chaos. Using skyTran, travel time between Mulund and Colaba, between Bangalore Airport and Electronics City or between Noida and Gurgaon can be completed in 25 minutes flat.
In fact, as per reports, skyTran is already in negotiations with Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Kerala and Bihar to implement PRT based transportation system at major cities.
Ankur said, “The average speed of travel in cities is expected to be 120 km/hour. That means a user can expect to travel from Gurgaon to Noida in less than 25 minutes, for example. The speed of travel would be 250 km/hour on intercity routes. A journey between Delhi and Chandigarh or Delhi to Jaipur would just take an hour,”
The man behind the vision of skyTran is Douglas Malewicki, who is a graduate of Stanford University with degrees in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering; and had earlier worked at Structural Dynamics engineer at North American Aviation’s Space Division where all Astronaut’s capsules were developed for Nasa’s Apollo Missions for moon.
A decade back, Ankur met Douglas at Nasa, and the rest is history.
Ankur and the team behind skyTran firmly believes that once their innovation is adapted across cosmopolitan cities, it can reduce pollution, and increase transportation efficiency in a major way. Eric Schmidt has certainly placed his bet on a better future.