Private aviation startup Wheels Up raises $128 million funding at $1.1 billion
Wheels Up, a membership-based private aviation startup that significantly reduces the upfront cost to fly privately, has raised $128 million round of funding for acquisitions, investments in sales and marketing and building the company’s technology platform. The latest round now values the company $1.1 billion.
Wheels Up is backed by sport stars Tom Brady and Serena Williams. Its Class D equity capital raise included Franklin Templeton, which co-led the round with funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price and Fidelity Management & Research, along with other investors.
Founded in 2013 by Kenny Dichter, Bill Allard, and Justin Firestone, Wheels Up offers individual, family and corporate members exceptional world-class service with around the clock support. Its mobile app enables members to seamlessly book flights, manage their accounts and participate in ride-share opportunities. Wheels Up Members also have access to the Wheels Down program, featuring exclusive lifestyle events and experiences, unique partner benefits and a full-service luxury concierge, which is also integrated in the Wheels Up app.
The funding marks an escalation in the air war between private aviation players to become leaders in a new era of consolidation and technological change that is remaking the industry. “We see the digitization and the digital marketplace as a winner-take-most opportunity,” Wheels Up founder and CEO Kenny Dichter says.