New Overair CFO Whayne To Focus On Fundraising, Partnerships
Newly hired Overair Chief Financial Officer Thomas Whayne says he plans to focus on raising money and pursuing strategic partnerships in his new role at the California-based electric-vertical-takeoff-and-landing (eVTOL) vehicle startup.
Whayne previously held senior roles at numerous technology companies, including OneWeb, where he served as CFO and helped the firm raise $3 billion, and Maxar Technologies, where he was chief strategy officer.
“I have a strong track record raising capital, and I think that’s one of the main reasons they wanted me at Overair,” Whayne says in an exclusive interview with the AAM Report. “The company has done a good job raising capital, but there’s going to be more work to do, both in terms of raising capital and securing partnerships with players to help create more visibility on the commercial side.”
Whayne also says his experience pursuing strategic partnerships at OneWeb will be valuable in his new role as Overair CFO. “I think it’s going to be important, because in order to scale, we’re going to need partners to buy our aircraft, help us distribute and also help us get to a high rate of production.”
While Whayne acknowledges that tighter financial conditions have made the job of raising capital more challenging, he expressed confidence in the technology that underpins the Butterfly eVTOL, as well as in strategic partner Hanwha, which he says will continue to play a valuable role in supporting Overair.
“At the end of the day, I think the best technology tends to win, and I would argue that Overair has the best technology,” Whayne says. “We’ve also got the benefit of a great strategic partner in Hanwha that is supportive of our focus on technology development, engineering the product and pursuing what we believe is the most efficient path to certification.”
Asked about his motivation to join the company, Whayne says he is excited by the size of the market opportunity for eVTOLs and urban air mobility (UAM), and that he is eager to be part of what he describes as a “revolution” in aviation. He also says the ultraquiet propulsion technology that underpins Overair’s Butterfly air taxi has the potential to open up new possibilities in urban transit.
“The ability to penetrate deeper into urban environments is going to be predicated upon having a quieter vehicle, and I think we’re going to be quieter than the rest of the industry,” Whayne says. “I think the combination of the market opportunity and technology differentiation that Overair has is really exciting.”
"I'm also thrilled to be a part of this extraordinary team that includes some incredible figures like [Co-Founder] Abe Karem, [CEO] Ben Tigner and [CCO] Valerie Manning," he adds. "I've always said the team is who you spend your time with, and that's who you're making your bet on. "With decades of experience in the aerospace industry, these are great people for me to learn from and partner with for as far as the eye can see."