Air-to-ground connectivity company SkyFive bolstered its bank account this week, closing a Series A funding round. The round was led by Safran Corporate Ventures. Also participating in the round was STAR Capital, a European private equity fund manager with a track record of developing emerging infrastructure businesses.
But the deal is not just about the funding. Safran’s participation helps SkyFive with deeper access to the commercial aviation markets.
This successful Series A funding round – during the height of the COVID pandemic – is a strong endorsement of SkyFive’s technological leadership and its significant market opportunity. Jointly, we foresee that aviation digitization will accelerate after the pandemic, with our true broadband in-flight connectivity becoming a strategic cornerstone for the entire industry.– Thorsten Robrecht, SkyFive CEO
Safran brings to the table an existing portfolio of cabin and avionics-related products. It has developed its own in-flight connectivity components and continues to work on an updated phased array antenna solution for satellite connectivity. Bringing terrestrial connections into the mix would significantly broaden its portfolio of options for airlines and suppliers.
In a statement SkyFive indicated the investment from “enables SkyFive to accelerate its breakthrough into the global in-flight connectivity market. By teaming up with Safran as one of the largest suppliers of aircraft systems globally, SkyFive is in a unique position to drive the paradigm shift towards A2G based true broadband services boosting the airline digitization.”
The company did not disclose terms of the deal. It did, however, share that pre-money valuation of SkyFive was in the upper double digit million EUR range. Post-money the three founders still hold “a comfortable majority” of the ownership stake.
As part of the deal Safran gains a seat on the Board of Directors. Sebastien Weber, Safran Aerosystems CEO, will assume that role.
This technology cooperation constitutes a key milestone within Safran’s strategy in offering aircraft connectivity solutions. Safran is a key player in this area and we see tremendous growth in Air-To-Ground connectivity. SkyFive’s cutting edge solution will complement our current offering and set us apart from other industry players in bringing an affordable and increased level of performance to the aircraft.– Sebastien Weber, Safran Aerosystems CEO, new SkyFive board member.
Safran Corporate Ventures is Safran’s venture capital arm, tasked with funding innovative technology businesses and startups. Since being founded in April 2015, it has contributed financing to ten innovative companies active in sectors related to Safran’s businesses (Industry 4.0, onboard components, new materials, new services).
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