This Airline Aims to Fly People Around in a Hydrogen-Propelled Plane as Soon as 2025

Harri Weber

Harri is dot.LA's senior finance reporter. She previously worked for Gizmodo, Fast Company, VentureBeat and Flipboard. Find her on Twitter and send tips on L.A. startups and venture capital to harrison@dot.la.

This Airline Aims to Fly People Around in a Hydrogen-Propelled Plane as Soon as 2025

Connect Airlines hopes to start flying passengers around in a hydrogen-powered plane as soon as 2025, thanks to a deal announced this week with Hawthorne-based Universal Hydrogen.

The Boston-based airline has yet to launch, but it intends to kick off regular service between Toronto, the Northeast and the Midwest starting this spring — for now using jet fuel. Connect Airlines is one of several to sign a letter of intent to buy hydrogen conversion kits in the coming years from Universal Hydrogen, joining Icelandair, Air Nostrum (in Spain), and Ravn Alaska.


Universal Hydrogen plans to begin installations of its hydrogen-electric powertrain kits in the next three to four years, pending regulatory approval. The startup is designing its kits for planes that would otherwise guzzle down jet fuel.

Connect Airlines aims to launch hydrogen-propelled flights within the year, the company told dot.LA. So far, Universal Hydrogen’s other partners have offered few specifics on their launch plans.

As the aviation industry looks for ways to slash its carbon footprint, hydrogen has emerged as a top contender to supplant jet fuel. Hydrogen is clean-burning and vastly lighter than batteries, potentially making it ideal for air travel. Hydrogen has downsides, too. It’s more expensive than jet fuel today, and clean hydrogen produced via renewable energy is relatively scarce.

All told, it could be decades before hydrogen-powered planes go mainstream.

Airbus aims to deliver a hydrogen plane by 2035, while Boeing is looking out as far as 2050 for larger aircraft. The Aerospace Technology Institute, a U.K. research group, recently said it expects to see hydrogen planes in the mid-2030s.

Universal Hydrogen is an early mover, but it isn’t the only one.

U.K. and Hollister, Calif.-based ZeroAvia is also working with airlines to launch hydrogen-powered passenger flights, starting with London and Rotterdam as soon as 2024.

In addition to making the kits, Universal Hydrogen says it will also supply airlines with green hydrogen fuel. It raised $62 million in October to move ahead with its plans, which include test flights beginning next year.

Connect Airlines’ owner and a number of others participated in the funding round, including Mitsubishi HC Capital, Tencent, Marc Benioff's TIME Ventures and Spencer Rascoff's 75 and Sunny Ventures. (Full disclosure: Rascoff is the founder and executive chairman of dot.LA.)

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Los Angeles’ Wage Growth Outpaced Inflation. Here’s What That Means for Tech Jobs

Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He holds a degree in journalism from Emerson College and previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Send tips or pitches to samsonamore@dot.la and find him on Twitter @Samsonamore.

Los Angeles’ Wage Growth Outpaced Inflation. Here’s What That Means for Tech Jobs

Inflation hit cities with tech-heavy workforces hard last year. Tech workers fortunate enough to avoid layoffs still found themselves confronting rising costs with little change in their pay.

Those national trends certainly touched down in Los Angeles, but new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show that the city of angels was the only major metro area that saw its wage growth grow by nearly 6% while also outpacing the consumer price index, which was around 5%. Basically, LA was the only area where adjusted pay actually came out on a net positive.

So, what does this mean for tech workers in LA County?

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Energy Shares Wants to Offer You a Chance to Invest in Green Energy Startups

David Shultz

David Shultz reports on clean technology and electric vehicles, among other industries, for dot.LA. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Outside, Nautilus and many other publications.

Energy Shares Wants to Offer You a Chance to Invest in Green Energy Startups
Photo by Red Zeppelin on Unsplash

The Inflation Reduction Act contains almost $400 billion in funding for clean energy initiatives. There’s $250 billion for energy projects. $23 billion for transportation and EVs. $46 billion for environment. $21 billion for agriculture, and so on. With so much cash flowing into the sector, the possibilities for investment and growth are gigantic.

These investment opportunities, however, have typically been inaccessible for everyday retail investors until much later in a company’s development–after an IPO, usually. Meaning that the best returns are likely to be captured by banks and other institutions who have the capital and financing to invest large sums of money earlier in the process.

That’s where Pasadena-based Energy Shares comes in. The company wants to help democratize access to these investment opportunities and simultaneously give early-stage utility-scale energy projects another revenue stream.

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Why These Ukrainian Entrepreneurs Are Making LA Their Home

Aisha Counts
Aisha Counts is a business reporter covering the technology industry. She has written extensively about tech giants, emerging technologies, startups and venture capital. Before becoming a journalist she spent several years as a management consultant at Ernst & Young.
Why These Ukrainian Entrepreneurs Are Making LA Their Home
Joey Mota

Fleeing war and chasing new opportunities, more than a dozen Ukrainian entrepreneurs have landed in Los Angeles, finding an unexpected community in the city of dreams. These entrepreneurs have started companies that are collectively worth more than $300 million, in industries ranging from electric vehicle charging stations to audience monetization platforms to social networks.

Dot.LA spent an evening with this group of Ukrainian citizens, learning what it was like to build startups in Ukraine, to cope with the unimaginable fear of fleeing war, and to garner the resilience to rebuild.

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