Start-up private aviation membership provider AeroVanti yesterday said it had engaged Network1 Financial Securities Inc. to raise $9.75 million in a Series A round.
According to a press release, “The company believes this capital infusion will position the charter aviation club, which has experienced 20 times growth since launching in June 2021, to continue to scale its operations, grow its fleet, and expand its destination offerings and flight availability to its growing roster of delighted customers.”
In an SEC Form D filing dated July 13, 2022, AeroVanti reported it had already raised $5.6 million.
CEO and Founder Patrick Britton-Harr tells Private Jet Card Comparisons, “We expect to have (the raise) closed up within 60 days.”
Last year AeroVanti sought to raise $6 million; however, Britton-Harr says it stopped at $2 million.
After a bumpy start, AeroVanti has built its fleet to nine Piaggio P. 180s, three Learjet 31As, a Gulfstream G-III, and a helicopter.
A partnership with Brazos Valley Air, which was supposed to be its source of Piaggio turboprops, quickly fell apart. Members had reported frequent cancelations and lacking customer service.
In March, AeroVanti bought Tucson-based Part 135 operator Marjet, which was flying a single King Air. At the time, Britton-Harr said, “We didn’t purchase Marjet for the aircraft. We purchased it for the certificate.”
However, he says that AeroVanti is currently flying members under Part 91 rules using the NBAA Small Aircraft Exemption No. 7897.
There are now 350 members, and Britton-Harr says he hopes to triple that number.
There are about five joiners per day. Memberships range from $1,000 to $2,500 per month with the hook of an hourly rate of just $2,495 per hour.
He says the company has pivoted from its original vision of outsourcing as much as possible.
Britton-Harr says, “We realized we needed to be vertically integrated, including keeping maintenance in-house. We have been purchasing additional spare parts. Everything we have been doing is building up the backbone.”
He believes problems are now in the rear-view mirror. “I think we’ve done a fantastic job of turning the corner. We’re now at close to 100% performance of flights,” Britton-Harr says.
AeroVanti, an as-available program with seven days’ notice, is now fulfilling 90% of flight requests at the specified date and time.
Still, Britton-Harr says ATC delays and FBO ground services snags still impact on-time performance. “We are telling members the expectation you can fly in, go right to a meeting, and fly out is becoming harder, and they should plan to fly in the night before,” he says.
The company is looking for more acquisitions and Piaggio owners who want to put their airplanes into its member-owner program.
A promised announcement to buy new airplanes is still on tap.
“We were going to EBACE to make a big announcement with Piaggio for up to 72 aircraft in tranches of 12. We were headed over to make a very large deposit at EBACE with a formal signing. When we got there, we realized the best solution was to wait until new ownership is announced. We didn’t feel Piaggio had the ability to perform under the contract. Hopefully, when there is a new owner, we will re-engage,” Britton-Harr says.