How often do you hear of a Pilot starting their own business? In truth, if you had one of the most glamourous jobs in the world, why would you want to switch it for all the stresses that come with starting, funding and managing your own business? See more about sparkcrowdfunding here.
Unless, of course, you had an idea that could revolutionise aviation communications and result in savings of hundreds of millions of Euros for airlines throughout the world.
Three Aer Lingus pilots – Justin Perry, Darach O’Comhrai and Kris Vansteenkiste – have come up with one such idea and have just raised €350,000 on the Spark Crowdfunding platform to help bring this early stage business to the next stage.
The name of the business is Frequency and it is building the first, aviation operations specific, communication and collaboration platform. In layman’s terms, it is designed to improve communications between pilots, air traffic controllers and airport terminal management team, in order to reduce costly and unnecessary delays in landing and taking off. The platform will be optimised for delay and disruption management.
With over 40 years flying experience between them, the three founders were in an ideal position to understand the problems being caused by the current communications mechanisms within the aviation industry and what an ideal solution might look like. Delays cost airlines over €22 billion annually, so it’s not difficult to understand the problem that Frequency is trying to solve.
Frequency is pre-revenue and currently at beta stage with its software. The company is developing its full commercial product in consultation with jetBlue and Aer Lingus. It needed to raise additional funding to take the product to its next stage.
The company has secured the support of Enterprise Ireland, first through a €50,000 grant from its Competitive Start Fund. It has also gone on to secure High Potential Start-up (HPSU) status from Enterprise Ireland, a type of funding in which Enterprise Ireland can elect to match the investment you can secure from your own sources, up to a certain figure.
In order to unlock these funds from Enterprise Ireland, Frequency turned to Spark Crowdfunding, Ireland’s only equity crowdfunding platform. Equity crowdfunding is somewhat like Dragons’ Den in that a company seeks to raise a certain amount of money from several investors, but in the case of crowdfunding there can be hundreds of ‘Dragons’ investing small amounts in the campaign through the Spark Crowdfunding website.
On 1st June, Frequency launched their equity crowdfunding campaign with a target of €350,000 in return for 21% equity in the business. Over the course of the next 30 days this campaign was promoted to the Spark Crowdfunding database of investors using webinars and other social media channels. In the current environment it was not possible to arrange physical investor presentations. You can read more about the campaign and watch the related video campaign presentation here: https://www.sparkcrowdfunding.com/campaign/frequency
The campaign closed on 3rd July and achieved over €370,000 in investment from Irish investors. You would be hard-pressed to think of a more uncertain time in the history of the aviation industry, which makes the idea of success of this fundraising campaign all the more remarkable. Frequency is an EIIS qualifying company, which means investors can receive a tax rebate of 40% of their investment, effectively giving shareholders a 40% discount on their investment.
The success of this campaign demonstrates that a good idea, with a good management team can raise funds in any economic environment, and it also shows that Irish investors still have the funds to invest in the right type of businesses. Spark Crowdfunding has completed more than 10 campaigns for Irish start-ups over the last two years.
Full article: Irish Tech News
Frequency at Spark Crowdfunding