He then considered pursuing a career on Wall Street, doing something he didn’t want to take away from where he wanted to be: back in Vermont.
“There is a brain drain among the engineers of their home state”, he said. “People go to college and come back when they’re 40, because they realize San Francisco or Boston don’t have a cat’s meow.” Returning to Burlington in his mid-20s, Mr. Clarke became director of engineering at a company that produced power converters for Tesla.
In 2017 she attended a conference where Ms. Rothblatt made her pitch for an e-helicopter.
“There were like 30 people in the room, none of whom excited me,” Ms. Rothblatt recalled. “Then Kyle stood up and said, ‘I’m an electronics and power systems person, and I believe we can get to your specifications with a demonstration flight within one to two years.'” Others were nodding their heads. He was probably the youngest boy in the room. So I came up to him during the break and said, ‘Where is your company located?’ And he said, ‘I live in Vermont.'”
A few weeks later, after the second meeting, Mr. Clark created a watercolor of his design and sent it to Ms. Rothblatt. Within hours, $1.5 million of seed capital for Beta Technologies was transferred to his bank account.
“He made a nice design,” said Ms Rothblatt.
A prototype with four inclined propellers was assembled in eight months, with Mr Clark driving the vehicle himself. Built in Burlington, the aircraft was to be flown over Lake Champlain, away from population centers.
“It was so much fun flying it that we found an excuse for every opportunity,” Mr. Clark told an audience at MIT in 2019. Ultimately, however, it turned out to be a very complicated design and Mr Clarke threw it out. Outside. They built a streamlined prototype modeled after the arctic tern, a small, slow bird capable of flying superhuman distances without landing.
Since then, Beta’s workforce has grown from 30 to over 350. The company’s headquarters have been expanded into several buildings wrapping around the runway at Burlington International Airport, with plans for an additional 40-acre campus.