Three years ago, Silicon Valley developed a fleeting infatuation with a start-up called Zee. The company had set up shop right next to Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California, which was curious, becausetightly controls most of the land in the area. Then a reporter spotted patent filings showing was working on a small, all-electric plane that could take off and land vertically — a .
In the handful of news articles that ensued, all the start-up would say was that it wasn’t affiliated with Google or any other technology company. Then it stopped answering media inquiries altogether. Employees say they were even given wallet-size cards with instructions on how to deflect questions from reporters. After that, the only information that trickled out came from amateur pilots, who occasionally posted pictures of a strange-looking plane taking off from a nearby airport.
Turns out, Zee doesn’t belong to Google or its holding company, Alphabet. It belongs to Larry Page, Google’s co-founder. Page has personally funded Zee since its launch in 2010 while demanding that his involvement stay hidden from the public, according to 10 people with intimate knowledge of the company. Zee, however, is just one part of Page’s plan to usher in an age of personalised air travel, free from gridlocked streets and the cramped indignities of modern flight. Like Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk, Page is using his personal fortune to build the future of his childhood dreams..