In-flight connectivity hopeful SmartSky announced another round of funding this week, adding just over $32 million to the company’s coffers. The additional cash comes as the airline renews its promise to launch service this year. The money came from existing institutional investors.
In a display of confidence in the future of SmartSky’s groundbreaking technology and services, we received new funds from our institutional investors.– SmartSky CEO David Helfgott
The company did not offer any details on planned usage of the funds. It continues to spend on production of hardware, bringing a new manufacturer online following multiple lawsuits tied to its prior vendor. And the rollout of additional towers does come with certain costs.
A limited launch to start
As part of the service launch the coverage plan once again has shifted. The company now anticipates bringing its first “flight corridor in Florida and Georgia up shortly” according to CEO David Helfgott. From there the company expects to “continue completing sites to cover 90% of all flight hours in CONUS by end of summer and reach full CONUS by year’s end.”
That plan is very different from where the company has previously indicated it would initially deploy the towers. In mid-2018 SmartSky anticipated going live with the East Coast corridor (NYC-Miami) and then adding a dogleg to bring Chicago online shortly thereafter.
The West Coast would then activate and Middle America would follow. It was not a perfect plan, but it addressed some critical time and cash-flow challenges. When the JSX deal announced in January 2019 the West Coast became a higher priority for obvious reasons.
By January 2020 the plan was to launch with 90% CONUS coverage rather than the segmented approach. That is still the plan by the end of the summer, but talk of a more limited activation earlier is new.
The additional $32 million is the first new cash raise the company has announced since January 2019…
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