Wheels Up raises $128 mln


Wheels Up said Aug. 9 that it raised $128 million in a Class D funding round co-led by Franklin Templeton, T. Rowe Price and Fidelity Management & Research. Other institutional and private investors participated in the round. Wheels Up is a membership-based private aviation company.

PRESS RELEASE

NEW YORK, Aug. 9, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Wheels Up announced today that it has completed its Class D equity capital raise of $128 million. New to the Company’s roster of institutional investors are funds managed by Franklin Templeton, which 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 Company’s post-money enterprise valuation is north of $1.1B.
The raise comes on the heels of the Company’s recent acquisition of Travel Management Company, which closed in May 2019. Wheels Up was represented by Jefferies, LLC as an advisor for this transaction.
Wheels Up Founder and CEO Kenny Dichter said this latest round of financing will fund a number of business initiatives, including 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.
“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.
About Wheels Up:
Wheels Up is a revolutionary membership-based private aviation company that significantly reduces the upfront costs to fly privately, while providing unparalleled safety, service, flexibility and quality. Wheels Up offers a total private aviation solution for its 6,000+ members across North America through three unique membership options—Connect, Core, and Business—and a vast selection of program features. 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, paying fixed hourly rates for time flown only. The Wheels Up Charter Marketplace, a new and innovative digital feature available on the Wheels Up App, 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. All Wheels Up Members have access to signature events and a platform of curated benefits from the world’s preeminent lifestyle brands.
Wheels Up Partners LLC (“Wheels Up”) does not operate aircraft; FAA licensed and DOT registered air carriers participating in the program exercise full operational control of all flights offered by or arranged through Wheels Up. For on-demand flights and shuttle flights operated as scheduled service, Wheels Up acts solely as an agent for Wheels Up members and guests in arranging these flights on their behalf. For shuttle flights operated as Public Charter service, Wheels Up acts as principal in offering these flights subject to the DOT’s Public Charter rules contained in 14 CFR Part 380. All aircraft owned or leased by Wheels Up are leased to the operating air carrier and are operated exclusively by that air carrier.
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