By Giles Turner
Gilo develops rotary engines for a range of vehicles, including para-gliders and a flying car called SkyQuad. Source: Gilo Industries
A U.K. aerospace company that designs rotary engines used in jet-equipped backpacks has sold a minority stake to Kuang-Chi Group, a Chinese technology investor.
Gilo Industries Group, based in Dorset, has sold a 40 percent stake for $30 million. The funds will be used to expand Gilo's business in Asia, according to a company statement Monday.
Founded in 2000 and branded the 'Disney of Engineering' on its website, Gilo develops rotary engines for a range of vehicles, including para-gliders and a flying car called SkyQuad.
“This is only the start of Kuang-Chi's U.K. investment plans,” Ruopeng Liu, chairman of Kuang-Chi, said in the statement. “Despite some fears surrounding Brexit, innovation is booming in the U.K. and Kuang-Chi has confidence in the U.K. market.”
KuangChi, the Chinese technology company hoping to send tourists into space and develop flying jetpacks, could soon go on a global investment spurt. Despite having few products on the market, Liu is intent on funding research into everything from space-faring capsules to the Martin Jetpack, a prototype of which it acquired from a New Zealand researcher in 2015.
Britain isn't the first country to receive Kuang-Chi's backing. In May, Kuang-Chi unveiled the GCI Fund, a Tel Aviv-based technology fund and incubator that aims to invest as much as $300 million in Israel and abroad. Kuang-Chi has already invested in a range of startups, including Israeli video analytics company Agent Vi, Norwegian fingerprint reader Zwipe AS, and Canadian aviation company SkyX.
Shenzhen-based Kuang-Chi also rolled out the GCI Fund II at the end of last year, which aims to invest around $250 million into tech startups, “with a strong focus on the U.K.” according to Monday's statement.
Kuang-Chi is currently developing light-identification technologies and balloon platforms that aim to offer internet services, acting as a replacement for satellite communications.
U.K. tech companies raised more capital than any other European country in 2016, according to a survey conducted by the U.K. capital's promotional company, London & Partners.