AirFinance formally launches FlyFunder

Kirsten Bartok

AirFinance has formally launched FlyFunder, an online marketplace to connect buyers of business jets and helicopters with financiers.

“The current process for obtaining aircraft financing is a tedious and labor-intensive process that requires a large number of phone calls and emails. Aircraft buyers or their representatives must reach out individually to multiple financial institutions to determine if they are interested in their specific deal,” says Kirsten Bartok Touw, FlyFunder co-founder and AirFinance managing partner. “Each financial institution has a list of very specific attributes that they will finance including: deal size, age of aircraft, domicile of buyer, region of operation, registration of aircraft and type of structure.”

“With FlyFunder, we are offering the first digital platform to bring financiers and aircraft buyers together, and because there are no start-up costs involved for those looking to lend, we have been in talks with a number of hedge funds and family offices who are looking at this as a very efficient way to enter the business jet and helicopter finance market.”

The site is free for all users to join, and the financiers only pay FlyFunder a small commission upon the successful closing of a transaction sourced from the platform. The process is also completely anonymous. When a deal is launched in FlyFunder’s closed network the information presented to the financier is general and non-specific so that an aircraft buyer is unidentifiable. Financiers declare their interest based on deal criteria rather than the identity of the customer.

“FlyFunder will give financiers greater visibility into a larger number of aircraft financing opportunities than they would typically see through their origination teams. It is a great platform for buyers looking to access financing and financiers looking for potential deals they might otherwise not have been exposed to.” said Chris Miller, managing partner of Shearwater Aero Capital.

Aircraft manufacturers or brokers can post transactions for their clients.

“We see significant growth potential in both mature and emerging markets,” said Paul Sykes, FlyFunder co-founder and director. “We believe that a transparent, easy-to-use, online marketplace will provide aircraft buyers globally with greater access to financing and more options to choose from. All industry participants will benefit from greater connectivity and interaction.”

“It has been demonstrated, that when financing exists, sales of assets increase when they don’t need to be purchased with 100% equity.  It is our hope that FlyFunder can help increase aircraft sales by working to fill the financing void that has only grown in the last few years,” said Kirsten Bartok Touw, FlyFunder co-founder and AirFinance managing partner.

“By presenting aircraft financing opportunities in a clear and straightforward manner, we expect FlyFunder will expand the number of aircraft financed by lenders and lessors, especially when financiers see the opportunities they are missing due to their narrow criteria,” said Tom Low, FlyFunder co-founder and AirFinance managing partner. “Nontraditional funding sources such as hedge funds or family offices have already approached us, expressing interest in seeing aircraft financing opportunities that historically they would not have been able to source because of lack of focus on the sector.”

Since its beta launch in early fall, FlyFunder has had significant traction from aircraft buyers and brokers with more than a dozen deals launched from the United States to South Africa to Sri Lanka.