FL3XX’s Paolo Sommariva acquires aviowiki
The sale of aviowiki to FL3XX’s Paolo Sommariva will allow the business to grow further, founder, Diego Magrini told Corporate Jet Investor.
The deal, which was signed back in December after lengthy discussions, was made public this month. However financial terms of the transaction are not being released.
Bringing the company to the next level requires a big push, according to Magrini (pictured left). “It requires going against the companies that have had market dominance for decades, and failed to innovate, so it requires a certain amount of resources.”
Magrini said he was looking for a partner more than just a new financial investor. “ I wanted the company to be somewhere where the technology is understood, and where the industry is understood. I’ve known the buyer and their involvement in aviation for a few years. Since the beginning of last summer we’ve been talking, and that has come to signing at the end of December.”
The founder and former CEO, asked himself: “How do you feed a business that has to build massive amount of data before gaining market shares? It does not necessarily stand on its own legs from day one.” As a start-up aviowiki was collecting data to create a product worth buying. “So the company in the beginning is working at a loss whilst it is convincing the entire market to switch to its new product rather than using the one which is 30 years old and has never been challenged or innovated.”
Now that aviowiki has been sold, what is next for Magrini? Unable to reveal anything specific at this point he has some plans in the pipeline and some non-aviation businesses to attend to. “But you know, after basically my whole career in aviation, I don’t think it will be long until I’m dragged back in” he said.
The baton was passed officially in the first days of the year. Sommariva (pictured right), now owner and CEO, told CJI he has always been a fan of aviowiki. “I met Diego in sub-zero weather at an ICAO meeting in December 2018 in Montreal. We talked about his ideas to develop advanced passenger information systems for aviation and the conversation grew the idea larger: to build the universal database for aviation. I helped with a small loan and in short order FL3XX became the launch customer.”
Sommariva explained how FL3XX needed the service aviowiki provides. “Having tried other sources we found none that was easy to access, global and reliable, so our heart went with aviowiki as FL3XX donated all the data it had accumulated. Less than a year later the service was performing better than ever,” he said.
“When I talked to the aviowiki team I was impressed, very impressed by the strong belief everyone had in Diego and in the aviowiki vision of a single, real-time, global source of data with 100% reliability. That belief convinced me to step in. This is the team that will succeed no matter the hurdles,” said Sommariva.
He believes there is a path for aviowiki to become the industry’s common repository of airports, services, aircraft, and airspace data. Sommariva said: “There are lots of value-added services, which companies like Universal Weather and Jeppesen have provided for years, but the basic data is a common good, and delivering it to everyone for a very small fee is an obvious economic necessity. It is also a profitable business.”
“I see potential for a group of industry investors participating in a consortium to support the growth of aviowiki as a shared resource. As soon as the company is back on its feet, I will work on this idea and I already have interest from some players. I wish to see aviowiki back on its own feet and growing very soon and I’m positive this will happen in the course of this year. Software services grow when markets go up and just as much (though for different reasons) when markets come down,” he concluded.