Portside lands $50M to help manage business aviation • TechCrunch

Business aviation operators are often challenged by crew and aircraft shortages as they look to scale and meet the growing post-pandemic demand for air travel. With an industry-wide staffing shortage, operators need to figure out how to attract pilots and other crew members — whether to fill full-time vacancies or add temporary positions to meet pressing scheduling needs.

Inspired to build technology-forward solutions, Alek Vernitsky and Alek Strygin founded Portside, which enables aircraft operators to share schedules, financial and maintenance data and other key aircraft information with owners, banks and insurance companies through a web-based portal. Portside announced today that it raised $50 million in a Series B funding round led by Insight Partners with participation from existing investors including I2BF Global Ventures, bringing the company’s total to more than $70 million.

Portside is Vernitsky and Strygin’s second venture after starting travel agency GetGoing, which they sold to business travel management firm BCD Travel in 2016. Vernitsky was previously head of product at thredUp and for many years was SVP at BCD Travel (like Strygin) following the acquisition GetGoing.

Also Read :  Microsoft’s Nadella: Public Cloud Will Be ‘The Big Winner’ In Down Economy

“Portside provides an integrated platform and strives to be a one-stop shop for aviation departments,” Vernitsky told TechCrunch via email. “As operators of scale, they need to capture efficiency through technology. Portside’s suite of products gives them the ability to streamline workflows while making the best use of their aviation assets.”

Port side

Image Credit: Port side

To this end, Portside provides tools to automatically allocate crew and aircraft depending on a given schedule and standardize the way business flight itineraries are reported. Portside’s staffing marketplace gives employers access to a database of pilots and crew while dedicated service applications help manage crew accommodation. In addition, Portside maintains an operations management portal that helps schedule and dispatch government, corporate and charter flights using existing flight systems.

“Business aircraft are now more capable than ever in terms of flying more people over longer distances, which means more trips are now international, and more complex from a logistical and regulatory perspective,” Vernitsky continued. “Having an integrated system that combines operational, financial and maintenance data is now critical to a successful journey.”

Also Read :  The Bicester Collection’s Chantal Khoueiry on accelerating women entrepreneurship in MENA

Business has been pretty good, Vernitsky said — even during the pandemic. It helps business aviation as the market is growing rapidly. A Honeywell survey released last October forecast up to 8,500 new business jet deliveries worth $274 billion from 2023 to 2032, up 15% in both deliveries and spending from the same 10-year forecast a year ago. Another survey – this one from Airbus – found that 89% of businesses with annual revenues above $500 million plan to increase their use of business aviation in 2023.

Why the robust growth? The Airbus survey provides some insight. Eighty-one percent of respondents said that they are increasingly relying on business flights during the pandemic while 63% cited problems expected to continue in the commercial aviation sector, such as flight delays and cancellations.

Also Read :  ACT Foundation announces grant opportunities for Innovators and nonprofits serving in Health, Entrepreneurship, Environment, and Leadership

Whatever the reason, Portside certainly benefited. The company claims to support nearly 1,000 private, business and government aircraft operators today in over 30 countries. There are more than 10,000 aircraft on the Portside platform, Vernitsky claims, and more than 50,000 users.

“Business aviation grew rapidly during the pandemic, and Portside has grown about 3x a year over the past few years. Business aviation continues to grow, and we intend to continue developing innovative products for the industry,” said Vernitsky.

Vernitsky said that capital from the latest funding round will be used for software development and “further expanding” Portside’s customer base and product portfolio. The startup currently employs 110 people and expects to grow to 150 by the end of the year.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Related Articles

Back to top button