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AeroCloud – the intelligent airport management platform that improves collaboration and efficiencies – announced it has raised $12.6 million in Series A funding led by US fund Stage 2 Capital. I2BF Global Ventures, Triple Point Ventures and Praetura Ventures also joined in the round along with existing investors Playfair Capital and Haatch. The Praetura and Haatch commitments to the round were supported with additional investment through the Regional Angel Programme by the British Business Investments. AeroCloud has now raised $16m in total.
Founded by former professional racing driver George Richardson (CEO) and airport operations innovator Ian Forde-Smith (CTO), AeroCloud uses technology to solve the complex challenges airports face daily. Airports are fast-moving domains, requiring smooth coordination of multiple factors in a high-pressure environment from security to passengers and airlines. A lack of coordination between these different factors can affect an airport’s performance – in some instances, it means that airports are operating at only around 66% capacity. Even before the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic which caused escalating passenger processing times and labour shortages, these issues were difficult to manage, particularly for small and medium-sized airports that don’t have the budgets and capacities that their larger peers do. As travel returns back to pre-pandemic levels, airports have struggled with adjusting to heightened demand, affecting operations across the world.
AeroCloud uses leading-edge technologies such as AI and machine learning combined with hardware to transform airport operations, drive communication amongst stakeholders, and increase airport efficiency and operating margins. The platform enables everything from faster passenger processing times to improved self-service check-in and bag drop and facilitates increased communication between stakeholders to deal with real-time fluctuations in processes to ensure that airports work better and communicate with their customers.
Using the cloud to improve efficiency
AeroCloud is currently focused on small to medium-sized airports which are often dependent on either Excel spreadsheets or inflexible, unwieldy and expensive legacy software to run their operations. By comparison, its modular, scalable management platform centralises all the siloed data across an airport into one platform that can be accessed by all stakeholders, providing an overview of everything taking place. The platform uses AI to highlight inefficiencies, as well as improve operations, from flight management to passenger predictions and gate management. In only two weeks, an airport can be running much more efficiently, helping to decrease operational costs and increase margins. These efficiency gains have a knock-on effect – enabling airports to employ more people, add more airlines and positively impact the local economy.
AeroCloud’s cloud-native platform enables unlimited licenses per customer so an airport’s entire stakeholder base can have access to the platform at no extra cost. This also means AeroCloud can be used on any device wherever an airport’s team is based, whether that’s onsite or remote and ensures the platform is more secure than legacy systems which are often run on centrally-located stack servers.
The trusted partner for scaling airports
This dedication to providing the tools to help airports make data-driven decisions and be more productive has seen AeroCloud partner with 42 customers in less than three years, ranging from Manchester Airport and Eindhoven Airport in the UK and Europe to Tampa International Airport and John Wayne in the US. Collectively, its software processes more than 150+ million passengers annually.
One customer, Sarasota Bradenton International Airport in Florida, US, started using the tool to automate gate allocation and passenger prediction analytics. This helped the airport to take on new airlines and seamlessly grow its annual passenger figures from 900,000 in 2019 to over 3.4 million in 2022 and become the US’s fastest-growing airport. The platform can even help airports reduce their carbon footprint by rationalising plane taxiing, resulting in less fuel used by airlines and ground crews.
The new Series A funding will enable AeroCloud to scale up, with plans to double the team of 40 by the end of the year across its HQ in Macclesfield, North West England, as well as its offices in London and Florida. This will help it to reach its target of over 100 customers in 2023, which will require growing its presence in North America and Europe, as well as delivering innovative new product launches based on machine learning, AI and self-service.
George Richardson, co-founder and CEO at AeroCloud, said: “The airport industry has had a difficult few years, which has only increased the need for a scalable, intelligent platform like AeroCloud. Before we launched AeroCloud, airports were forced to use legacy technology that was difficult to scale and barely fit for purpose. Now, it takes only 24 hours for an airport to onboard onto our platform and within two weeks, it’s already driving efficiency and operation gains. In fact, AeroCloud’s technology is so easy to use that it supports millions of operational decisions a day and doesn’t require anyone to be on-site.”
“Raising capital in this market has been tough but I am delighted with the results owing to our strong growth and impressive team. It’s been an incredible few years building this business and I am looking forward to seeing what the future holds which I am sure will be very exciting for airports globally and our investors.”
Liz Christo, Partner at Stage 2 Capital, said: “In only a small time, AeroCloud has become the definitive operating software for small to medium-sized airports. Each module is so critical to running an airport’s operations that good enough is not an option, it has to be perfect. George and Ian have built an impressive team dedicated to delivering an amazing customer experience, and we can see that it’s working with airports across North America and Europe signing multi-year contracts and putting their confidence in AeroCloud. I’m excited to work with the team to accelerate their growth in the US and support George and Ian as they build a generational software company.”