Making a Mark in an Emerging $318 Billion Industry

Skyryse Takes Flight

Challenge + Strategy

When Mission North began working with Skyryse in mid-2018, the appetite for new modes of urban mobility, like ridesharing and scooters, was high. But so was media skepticism about the viability and need for urban air transportation. Concerns about safety, noise and traffic in the sky abounded. 

Skyryse was a stealth startup with a technically accomplished but first-time founder and CEO. The company wanted to differentiate themselves from traditional aerospace companies and distant future vehicles by demonstrating that you can bring 21st century technology into existing aircraft and completely rethink how people fly. Skyryse needed to convince reporters that the technology wasn’t science fiction, and to spotlight CEO Mark Groden as a leader with the technical chops and business know-how to make urban air transportation accessible and safe for consumers.

Mission North developed a strategy to launch the company out of stealth and get Skyryse on the map. The team leveraged the company’s funding, partnership with the City of Tracy, Calif. and its founding story to shape a narrative that would convey Skyryse’s vision. In addition, the team established a thought leadership platform for Mark, leaning into his technical achievements and lifelong passion for flight.

In August 2018, Skyryse was ready to make its entrance. Mission North focused on placing stories at the highest-impact publications, working with journalists who would understand what made the company unique. This resulted in more than 30 articles, including in The New York Times, CNBC and WIRED, on the company’s funding and pilot program supporting first responders in California. 

After the launch, the team focused on building Skyryse’s credibility by telling stories about its technology and operational milestones, including the completion of a groundbreaking autonomous flight. Fast Company, TechCrunch, The Verge and 22 other publications picked up the news, while PR efforts helped the video of the flight reach more than 75,000 views. 

The team continued to elevate Skyryse’s profile with stories in the likes of Forbes, Business Insider and Vertical Magazine. Mission North’s work led Mark Groden to become a go-to source on air mobility for top-tier business and aviation trade reporters, leading to features in publications like Financial Times and Aviation Week

Execution + Results

Within a year of launching from stealth, Skyryse gained the reputation of an emerging innovator. Mark Groden, a first-time founder, was featured in Forbes 30 Under 30 and Vanity Fair’s The Future Innovator Index 2019. Skyryse also raised an additional $20 million from top investors including Bill Ford, Stanford University and Eclipse. Finally, the company’s executive team expanded to include leaders with decades of experience in the aircraft industry from legacy companies like Boeing and Moog, who chose to bet on Mark and the young startup.

 

Skyryse is a transportation technology company building a platform to automate flight and enable anyone to fly as safely as an experienced pilot. Led by experts from Airbus, Boeing, Ford, JetBlue, Moog, SpaceX, Tesla, Uber, the U.S. Military and Zoox, the company has raised $40 million to date. Investors include Venrock, Eclipse Ventures, Cantos Ventures, Fontinalis, Stanford University and Bill Ford, the executive chairman of Ford Motor Company.

Skyryse is a transportation technology company building a platform to automate flight and enable anyone to fly as safely as an experienced pilot. Led by experts from Airbus, Boeing, Ford, JetBlue, Moog, SpaceX, Tesla, Uber, the U.S. Military and Zoox, the company has raised $40 million to date. Investors include Venrock, Eclipse Ventures, Cantos Ventures, Fontinalis, Stanford University and Bill Ford, the executive chairman of Ford Motor Company.

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