Atlanta-based airline software startup Volantio has raised a Series B funding round of $2.6 million, led by Ingleside Investors with strategic investors International Airlines Group (IAG), JetBlue Technology Ventures, and Qantas Ventures. This follows the company’s stints in the airline-specific AVRO Accelerator, backed by Australia national carrier Qantas, as well as the Hangar 51 global accelerator backed by IAG, the world’s sixth-largest airline group by revenue.
“We are extremely proud that the investment arms of three key global aviation leaders, spanning three distinct geographies, have chosen to back Volantio and its market leading technology,” said CEO Azim Barodawala in a statement.
Volantio is an automation and optimization platform specifically geared towards the aviation industry. Their optimization software helps an airline to fill the most seats at the best price, as well as allows flexible travelers to earn rewards.
Volantio’s subscription-based Yana platform is implemented by the airlines to proactively identify flexible passengers on high-demand flights, suggest an offer to move to a lower demand flight in exchange for upgrades, vouchers or points via SMS text message, and rebooks them if they accept.
The whole process takes place days in advance, helping avoid the last-minute rush in the airport when a flight is overbooked, a situation many frequent fliers are familiar with. Passengers always remain in the same airport and seat preferences carry over if the flight is changed.
“Airlines leave up to $80 to $90 billion on the table every year by flying around empty seats and displacing high-yielding passengers with low-yielding passengers,” Barodawala explained. He first identified the pain point in his former role as Head of Strategy for Asia-Pacific low-cost carrier Jetstar Airways, which is owned by Qantas.
“Our platform provides a rare triple-win,” said Barodawala. “Flexible passengers receive a benefit for changing their travel plans, last-minute travelers are able to access flights that otherwise would have been full, and airlines can better maximize network capacity and unit revenue, while putting greater predictability and control back in the hands of their customers.”
In the last year, Volantio has landed a number of major clients including Qantas, Iberia, Volaris, Emirates and Alaska Airlines, as well as a pilot with United Airlines last summer. Barodawala says they have a number of additional carriers in the pipeline as well.
Now, the team of 11 is going to focus on hiring additional talent, primarily engineers. They’re also turning their eye to proactive marketing to bring their solutions to more airlines and consumers.
“The travel industry and customer needs continue to evolve and investments in innovations like Volantio are important to ensure we keep exploring ideas, disrupting the status quo and discovering new ways of working to deliver better outcomes for our business and our customers,” said Rob Marcolina, Qantas Group Executive, Strategy, Innovation and Technology.