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YCs latest moonshot bet is a startup building a $380K flying motorcycle

David Mayman has a vision for personal aviation that hes spent the past dozen years and millions of his personal fortune chasing. He hasnt accepted the convention that jetpacks were just a misguided fantasy for the future; his company, Jetpack Aviation, has been building them and hes been zooming around in publicity-grabbing stunts in a plea to the public that theres room to dream when it comes to human flight.
And while an eight-person startup aiming to build out a fleet of $380,000 flying motorcycles might seem like a tall order, Y Combinator, a top accelerator known for its occasionally bizarre bets, is gambling on the company and its jet engine-obsessed CEO in one of its latest investments.

Jetpack Aviation is about to become a very different company. The startup has launched pre-orders this week for the moonshot of moonshots, the Speeder, a personal vertical take-off and landing vehicle with a svelte concept design that looks straight out of Star Wars or Halo.
Deep-pocketed, sci-fi-minded buyers are going to have to fork over $10,000 just to get a spot in the pre-order line for the first vehicles to ship, but the startups founder seems to see the campaign as less about the money than it is about the confirmation that there are people interested in planting a stake in his wild companys future success.
I think its a validation statement for all of us, Mayman tells TechCrunch. If you look at how long Tesla took to deliver the Model 3 to customers, I think people understand that this is not something thats a Kickstarted pre-delivery campaign where at the tail-end of it were immediately going to be delivering product.
There are gambles and then there are flying motorcycles. This is frankly an atypical startup for YC to fund, but it is also an unconventional business path for Mayman, who has largely been self-financing his jetpack-building obsession for the past 12 years. For the Australian CEO, the YC investment is mainly about gaining access to Silicon Valleys network of VCs, though he also acknowledges its a fair assumption that SF breeds the type of executive that might be interested in pre-ordering something so seemingly outlandish.
I cant imagine someone not being excited about a flying motorcycle, YC partner Jared Friedman told TechCrunch in an email. Jetpack Aviation created the future with Speeder, and I look forward to seeing how this technology transforms the dreaded commute, vacation travel, and everyday errands.
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