Joby Aviation Lands in Santa Cruz

The $25.5 million facility will be the electric air taxi startup’s headquarters for research and development work.

An air taxi manufactured by Joby Aviation goes for a test flight. [Credit: Joby Aviation]

Reaching yet another milestone, electric air taxi startup Joby Aviation debuted its new Santa Cruz headquarters on June 5.

Joby’s new home takes founder and CEO JoeBen Bevirt back to his roots. Speaking with local news outlet, the Santa Cruz Sentinel, Bevirt said he grew up in Santa Cruz, where as a kid, he dreamed of a more convenient commute from his home to school. Explaining how he originally came up with the idea of an electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOl) concept, Bevirt said, “I loved where I went to school, and I loved where I lived, but they were a long way apart,” he said. “I had a dream of building a better way to get from A to B from the school I loved to the home I loved.”

That childhood dream is now proving to be a reality as Joby has grown significantly from a small team of engineers to more than 1,500 employees since its inception more than a decade ago. Having secured lucrative contracts, including an early partnership with NASA, and later Delta Air Lines, Toyota, and the Air Force, Joby’s market capitalization is more than $3.7 billion.

Its recent $25.5 million dollar purchase of its new headquarters, the Plantronics building—an audio communications equipment supplier of headsets including those worn by the Apollo 11 crew, supports Joby’s newfound growth and innovative agenda.

Monday’s celebration drew local officials, investors, media, and guests to the 162,000-square-foot facility, and included a day of speeches, ribbon cutting ceremony, and tours of its new offices.

Oliver Jones, Joby’s head of marketing, communications and brand, said, “The main thing we need is space. It’s gonna serve as a base for our corporate headquarters, but we also do a lot of research and development work here, so it basically gives us space to make sure that we can develop the best possible aircraft today and in the future.” In addition to the Santa Cruz campus, Joby also has a manufacturing center in Marina, and offices in San Carlos, Munich, and Washington, D.C.

Jones noted the acquisition of the new campus “marks our long-term commitment to Santa Cruz and the local community,” as it’s expected to bring hundreds of jobs and profit to the area.

“This is not only about massive amounts of capital investment by venture capitalists and by geniuses like JoeBen and other folks with E.E.s and other kinds of degrees,” said Santa Cruz Mayor Fred Keeley. “This flows throughout the community. The benefits of this are not only worldwide, they are really important here in our community and in the mayor’s community in Marina.”

While several advanced air mobility (AAM) prototypes are in the works, Joby says it intends to bring its eVTOL to service by 2024. Progress seems to be churning as the FAA already released the airworthiness criteria for Joby to meet to be certified for use, and just this week, the agency outlined a comprehensive rule for training and certifying pilots for powered-lift aircraft.

"It's really an exciting new age of aviation. A new age of transportation. People are comparing this to the dawn of the automobile in the profound impact that the automobile had on our daily lives,” said Bevirt. 

Amelia Walsh
Amelia WalshContributor
Amelia Walsh is a private pilot who enjoys flying her family’s Columbia 350. She is based in Colorado and loves all things outdoors including skiing, hiking, and camping.

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