The revolutionary double-decker airplane seat concept from Zephyr Aerospace successfully completed its crowdfunding mission, finishing up with more than 700% of its initial goal amount. The seat, which promises affordable lie flat comfort in the economy cabin, can now move on to the next stages of refinement and certification for use.
It was last summer when Simple Flying originally featured the Zephyr seat. The stacked searing concept promised to bring lie flat comfort to the masses, making it affordable for airlines to offer exceptional passenger experience, even in economy. With the world more focused than ever on social distancing, the timing couldn’t have been better for Zephyr Aerospace to launch its crowdfunding drive.
The money just kept coming
The seat, which has been in crowdfunding with Republic since May 15th, 2020, reached its target of $100,000 just a month later, on June 12th. However, with the campaign set to run until January 1st, 2021, the founders kept the crowdfunding open. At the point of reaching 100%, its founder Jeffrey O’Neill commented,
“Since launching our crowdfunding campaign on Republic, we have received tremendous support from over 450 investors around the world! By investing in Zephyr Seat, you’re backing a movement of disrupting the travel industry — and directly participating in our work to make travel safer and more comfortable for everyone.”
By July 7th, the seat had raised 200% of its original target. By July 30th, it was 400%. As the weeks rolled by, more and more investment came forward, with high-profile contributors including billionaire Tim Draper and former NFL pro Jon Najarian.
When the funding round closed on January 1st, Zephyr had raised a total of $739,308 from 2,538 investors.
Since launching the crowdfunding campaign, Zephyr has been featured in hundreds of publications around the world. As traction for the project grew, the company began building valuable partnerships for the next stage of the process.
In July, the company announced it was receiving assistance from Transport Canada for certification of the product. The company has worked to set up a team of design engineers to move the product towards the necessary certifications.
In August, it announced its partnership with GDC Technics, a global aerospace company with extensive expertise in engineering and technical expertise. GDC has been awarded the contract to build the new Air Force One, and says its mission is to ‘engineer the impossible.’ They will be helping Zephyr engineer and certify the seat.
As well as this, the company has been working with Air Hollywood, an aviation-themed entertainment studio, to create a mock-up of their seats. This has been completed in partnership with leading aerospace design company Style & Design. The firm says it has already secured a product development partnership with a reputable seat manufacturer, although it has not named the company yet.
Most recently, on December 3rd, the design patent for the Zephyr seat was approved. This major milestone protects the concept designed by O’Neill, and sets them on the road to receiving their utility certification.
The company has said it is in direct discussions with commercial airlines as well as Airbus and Boeing to bring the seat to market. Without naming airlines specifically, the company’s crowdfunding page features the logos of British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Delta, Lufthansa, Qantas and more.
While there’s still a way to go before we see these seats appearing in passenger cabins, there is clearly a lot of support for this sort of design innovation. With crowdfunding secured, it seems it is more a case of when, rather than if, this dream becomes a reality.