Wheels Up: $128 Million Funding, Over $1.1 Billion Valuation, And 6,000 Members

By Amit Chowdhry ● August 14, 2019
  • Wheels Up, a membership-based private aviation company, announced recently that it raised $128 million in Class D equity capital at a valuation of more than $1.1 billion

Wheels Up — a membership-based private aviation company — recently announced it raised $128 million in Class D equity capital. Funds managed by Franklin Templeton co-led the round with funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price and Fidelity Management & Research along with other institutional and private investors.

The post-money enterprise valuation of Wheels Up is now more than $1.1 billion. And this round of funding comes on the heels of Wheels Up’s recent acquisition of Travel Management Company, which closed a few months ago.

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Wheels Up founder and CEO Kenny Dichter pointed out that this round of funding will be used for a number of business initiatives such as additional potential acquisitions, the acceleration of membership growth through further investment in sales and marketing, and significant scaling of the company’s technology and digital platforms.

Wheels Up significantly reduces the upfront costs to fly privately while providing unparalleled safety, service, flexibility, and quality. And Wheels Up offers a total private aviation solution for its user base of more than 6,000 members across North America through three unique membership options—Connect, Core, and Business—and a vast selection of program features. The Wheels Up Core and Business Members receive guaranteed access to a members-only fleet of 93 King Air 350i, Citation Excel/XLS and Citation X aircraft (operated exclusively by Gama Aviation) up to 365 days a year with as little as 24 hours’ notice and paying fixed hourly rates for time flown only.

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And the Wheels Up Charter Marketplace is a new digital feature available on the Wheels Up App that allows members to search an inventory of 1,000+ Wheels Up safety-vetted and verified partner operator aircraft with real-time pricing that can be instantly booked.

The new Connect Membership provides access to the Charter Marketplace as well as features designed to reduce the cost of flying private through flight-sharing with The Community, Shared Flights, Hot Flights, and Shuttle Flights. Plus all Wheels Up Members have access to signature events and a platform of curated benefits from the world’s preeminent lifestyle brands.

“The continued support from our existing investors and the strong interest from new institutions in our latest investment round reinforce the dominance that Wheels Up continues to exhibit as an innovative disruptor and leading force in the private aviation and technology industries,” said Dichter. “As we invest further in growth-focused initiatives, we will focus on potential strategic acquisitions and rapid digital advancements to further our mission of bringing the highest-quality private flight to millions and the private-flying lifestyle to the world, in order to execute our vision of building the world’s most engaged community of private fliers.”

Wheels Up was represented by Goldman Sachs and BofA Merrill Lynch as placement agents for the Class D equity private placement.

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