Another High Tech company at Venture 13

A Silicon Valley company that started in Northumberland (Warkworth), moved to Cobourg and then to Palo Alto has now decided to occupy a space in the VentureZone in the Venture 13 facility.  The product is a personal flying vehicle called the Black-Fly that works like a drone – electrically powered and capable of vertical take-off and landing.  It qualifies as an ultralight aircraft in the US and Canada and has a range of 25 to 40 miles (depending on jurisdiction).  Funding was initially helped by Northumberland CFDC in 2012 but they moved to Silicon Valley in 2014.  The first flight of the high tech aircraft happened in Northumberland on October 5, 2011 but it was first publicly demonstrated in Palo Alto, California on July 12th, 2018. 

Marcus Leng and his Personal Flying Vehicle
Marcus Leng and his Personal Flying Vehicle

Most of the development was done in secret – until now. Their goal is to “bring personal aviation to the general public”. The video below shows what a great machine it is but as always, it remains to be seen what the market is.  No pricing has been announced although it is promised it will be “the price of an SUV” and available to buy in 2019.

Key Specifications/Information for BlackFly (photo at right)

  • The company name is Opener and the CEO is Marcus Leng  Web site here
  • Opener is well-funded and will not be seeking additional investors for the foreseeable future.
  • Capacity – one person up to 250lbs, 6ft 6in
  • Classification: Ultralight (USA), Basic Ultralight (Canada), Amphibious-capable (freshwater)
  • A pilot isn’t needed. No license and no training required (although recommended) – because it’s an ultra-light.
  • Range (with reserve): 25 miles (USA); 40+ miles (Intl).
  • Charging (Intl): 120 V / 15 A   20% – 100%  Charge 7.4 hrs;      240 V / 50 A   20% – 100% Charge 67 mins
  • Performance (Max Take-off Weight): Cruise Speed 62 mph (limited, USA); 80+ mph (Intl)
  • To keep up to date, go on their Mailing List
  • BlackFly was last exhibited at EAA’s AirVenture in Oshkosh, WI from Jul 23-29, 2018. (Second video below was taken at that show).

It has not been announced exactly what will be done at their Venture 13 space.

Below is their promotional video showing the capability of the BlackFly

This video shows more detail of the BlackFly’s development and features


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18 September 2018 2:15 pm

Let’s watch this one as time goes on…if it couldn’t cut it in Canada, then moved to California and couldn’t cut it, then why is it back in Canada. I’ll bet extra funding is needed and Canada will be the supplier again.

John Draper
Reply to  cornbread
18 September 2018 2:55 pm

They are not “back in Canada”. There are a whole lot of employees in California but they now also have a presence in Cobourg – probably related to getting approvals. Check their web site:

Rusty Brown
18 September 2018 12:03 am

“Daddy, I want one of those.”

15 September 2018 3:24 pm

I’d like to know how it is that Opener and V13 got together and made this business decision. That to me is the ‘success’ of this story.

15 September 2018 1:23 pm

Well I guess that Walter you have never been in Industry or self employed . Probably some secure job
with benefits and a Union to fall back on judging from your comments .
There are many things that affect the success and Growth of a Business / Industry
and being located in a Pretty place is not one of them .

Wally Keeler
Reply to  sandpiper
15 September 2018 2:15 pm

Sandy sez, “Well I guess that Walter you have never been in Industry or self employed . Probably some secure job with benefits and a Union to fall back on judging from your comments .”

That’s mighty presumptuous of you. The fact prevails that your presumption is grossly incorrect.

Walter L. Luedtke
Reply to  Wally Keeler
15 September 2018 2:58 pm

Wally, I am on facebook under my own name, as you are. Peter can look me up any time.

Reply to  Wally Keeler
17 September 2018 10:18 am

Not in correct ! Presumptuous or correct ——
The people commenting should read the article
It clearly states this Co left for greener pastures and opportunities in 2014
That means access to $$ , proximity to Market and a youthful educated labour force
trained in Tech . areas and aviation .
was Venture 13 even in existence then ???

John Draper
Reply to  perplexed
17 September 2018 10:27 am

Venture 13 was not in existence before this year but CFDC was and it provided initial funding in 2012. CFDC is a major tenant in Venture 13.

Reply to  John Draper
17 September 2018 5:11 pm

So why is Venture 13 Claiming Credit for something a tenant created and saw a possibility and future in Prior to Venture 13 coming of age ??

Ken Strauss
Reply to  perplexed
17 September 2018 6:20 pm

Perhaps the normal deceit from our local politicians?

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Ken Strauss
17 September 2018 9:34 pm

Give us an example of ‘normal deceit’ from Suzanne Seguin. Provide a single example of ‘normal deceit’ from John Henderson. Give us an example of any councilor that practices ‘normal deceit.’ If you continue to malign the ‘local politicians’ you also malign the Cobourg taxpayers who voted for those officials.

You are abysmally ignorant of the character of our local politicians.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Wally Keeler
18 September 2018 7:47 am

Wally, you are correct and I apologize for my flippant remark. Some, particularly Ms. Sequin, are excellent and I hope will succeed in this election.

Walter L. Luedtke
Reply to  Ken Strauss
18 September 2018 1:28 pm

Since you admire Ms Seguin, why don’t you do her the courtesy of learning to spell her name correctly?

Walter L. Luedtke
Reply to  sandpiper
15 September 2018 2:55 pm

So no source for “manufacturing outside Cobourg”?
Then let me ask you this, Peter.
Why and how do you think that Cobourg taxpayer money should be invested as venture capital in a company that describes itself as ‘fully funded’?

Reply to  Walter L. Luedtke
17 September 2018 5:04 pm

Fully Funded can mean many things and come from many sources .
even from communities that want your business , can offer Funding
The County funds some small Business start ups the Small Business Development Bank is another.
Google ie Cranson Capital They are a Tor. Based professional group specializing in this area of Raising Venture Capital and fully funding projects —– FUNDING all types of Multi Mil $ projects They also offer an excellent R O I to larger investors and pension funds .

But why am I teaching you this sort of thing This is obviously not your field of expertise
and background

Reply to  Walter L. Luedtke
17 September 2018 5:33 pm

There are other and obvious sources of Venture Capital and for Fully funding projects
we just don’t have those sources avail . here nor do we have the specialized labour forces .
I don’t think Tax dollars should be invested like this But the Community could have direction as to access to open doors for those entrepreneurs — I recall 20 yrs ago the FBDB offered huge tax incentives to citizens willing to invest in venture projects requiring capital and expertise .
The Tax dollars of the Citizens in My opinion should not be played with gambled and or invested by Municipal Staff or Council with no back ground s in these area This type of investing requires a lot of investigating , research and product knowledge .and specialized Education .

Ken Strauss
Reply to  perplexed
17 September 2018 6:30 pm

I would make a much stronger statement: Our tax dollars should not be gambled with, period.

John Draper
Reply to  perplexed
17 September 2018 6:32 pm

Local funding was by CFDC which gets its money from Federal Grants. It’s not connected to the Town except that the Town is the Landlord for their offices at Venture 13. No politicians were involved with any grants – certainly not municipal ones anyway.

Walter L. Luedtke
Reply to  sandpiper
16 September 2018 1:09 pm

Yes, I must confess. I belonged to a Union!
During my student days at U of T, I worked summers at Union Station and belonged to a railroad brotherhood.
The Union made sure that I got the basic pay and benefits that other members had,
And my ‘brothers and some sisters’ were generous enough to give up some of their extra- shift calls during the busy holiday seasons and their overtime although I was way down on seniority.
“Let Walter have it. He needs the money!”
Thanks to the Union and my Union brothers, I graduated with an Honours degree and no student debt. I shall always be grateful!

Reply to  sandpiper
18 September 2018 7:59 am

Teacher at East Northumberland Secondary School, Brighton, which I think would have him covered by the teachers’ union OSSTF.

Walter L. Luedtke
Reply to  Frenchy
18 September 2018 8:55 am

I belonged to a railway workers union and I am a retired member of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation. Proud of it!

15 September 2018 10:52 am

Fantastic another success story I think will go world wide in sales
BUT —- they Left Cobourg in 2014 and will be manufacturing out side of Cobourg
Pity all those lost jobs and income . whats wrong with this picture
This is where we should have been ***investing *** all those tax $$ instead of
the Beach and Marina . =======

Walter L. Luedtke
Reply to  sandpiper
15 September 2018 11:00 am

Sandy, what is your source for “will be manufacturing outside of Cobourg”?
I tried to find info on that.

Reply to  Walter L. Luedtke
15 September 2018 11:11 am

1st off my name is Peter secondly ask these questions of you Economic development Office
get the facts They left when the town had nothing to offer

Wally Keeler
Reply to  sandpiper
15 September 2018 12:58 pm

Sandy said, “… the town had nothing to offer

The Town has lots to offer. A developing business goes to an environment that will expand their business. Grow up in Cobourg, wanna be an actor, wanna be a star, leave Town to where the action is. Normal. However, let us note, the business returned to put a footprint in Cobourg. Obviously the Town has something to offer.

Why not manufacture some here? The entire shoreline will become a major ‘highway’. That shoreline is densely populated from Kingston to Hamilton. It would interesting to see a flock of these things off the beach hovering and maneuvering. Of course there will occasionally be drunk flying, and biker gangs taking to the air, Hell’s Angels in V formation swooping down on small towns. Houses will have to be modified with landing pads on the garage roof. How do we enforce the joy fliers? Will the east pier become a landing pad during the Ribfest weekend? And who will be the first to arrive at the prom in one of these? Oh, and btw, non-licenced (amateurs) will be flying these things.

Interesting times ahead.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  sandpiper
15 September 2018 1:10 pm

Furthermore, there are differing regulations in Canada from the US. They need a manufacturing base in the US to serve a gigantic market. They need a manufacturing base in Canada to build according to Canadian regs. They serve two markets with differing regs. Cobourg is well situated on the north shore of a great lake served with a super highway and rail for distribution.

Walter L. Luedtke
15 September 2018 8:13 am

Seems quite impressive and a great website.
Hope they will start manufacturing on a fairly large scale.
Interesting to note: “Opener is well-funded and will not be seeking additional investors for the foreseeable future.”
And welcome to Cobourg, congrats to the folks at Venture 13.