Victor raises $8m to take on US charter market
Victor, an online booking platform for private jet flights, has raised $8 million to take on the US charter market with its new mobile booking app, which launched today.
The company has not disclosed where its funding has come from, but an article published by technology website TechCrunch speculates that the company is backed by a group of “unnamed private investors, made up mostly of Victor users” and most notably, singer Elton John.
MUST-READ: Why Victor is winning the online charter debate
Victor, led by CEO and founder Clive Jackson, launched its online portal in August 2011, but until today Victor members were only able to book flights through Victor’s website. Now users are able to use the Victor’s brand new iPhone and iPad app to access 7,000 business jets worldwide and receive fully transparent pricing information.
Major milestone for @flyvictor as we our launch our brand in the U.S. No shortage of staff from LON willing to join our new local team.
— Clive Jackson (@CJ_flyvictor) March 26, 2015
With charter operators previously relying on traditional charter brokers to connect them to end users, the charter market is changing rapidly, as competition between online charter brokers starts to heat up. Victor’s announcement follows news that Stratajet, another London-based company, have raised $5 million to expand its operations globally.
PrivateFly, another competitor, also revealed in December 2014 that it was looking to raise £6 million ($8.9 million), while Jetsmarter in the US announced today that it is hiring in Miami and Zurich.
JetSmarter is #hiring! Explore the current available positions & apply today on LinkedIn ›› http://t.co/pH8zpq0CJ1 pic.twitter.com/KjV24T6bIv
— JetSmarter (now XO) (@JetSmarter) March 26, 2015
Despite flights being down in Europe last year by 0.6 per cent, Jackson told Corporate Jet Investor that Victor had a “stonking year,” with membership growing by 290 per cent and charter bookings up 260 per cent.
Jackson now has his eye on the much larger US market, where the number of hours flown by chartered business jets have been steadily increasing every year since 2009.
“The US is the largest region for private aviation, accounting for 49.7 per cent of the global market, with Europe providing a 20.8 percent share,” said Jackson.
“Expanding our operations to the US ensures we have a presence in the most dominant market, better serving our customers in the region. We are the fastest-growing European jet charter service today and projected to grow 300 per cent through our global initiatives like our US expansion.”