NEW YORK, Sept. 28, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Wheels Up, the revolutionary membership-based private aviation company, announced today it has completed its first closing on a capital raise of up to $115 million from leading financial institutions including funds and trusts managed by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc., Fidelity Management and Research Company, and NEA. The Company's valuation is now greater than $500 million.
According to Wheels Up Founder and CEO Kenny Dichter, this latest round of financing will fuel the company's United States expansion, set up a base of operations in Europe, and enhance the Company's technology platform, which includes a unique member-to-member ride-sharing feature.
"Wheels Up is a disruptive force and is democratizing the private aviation space with its unique membership model, which broadens the addressable market, and its partnership with Textron Aviation to exclusively offer the Beechcraft King Air 350i, one of the world's most iconic airplanes, in fleet format," Mr. Dichter said. "We are excited to have T. Rowe Price as lead investor. We share a common vision on the ability of Wheels Up to become a market-leading company. We are also honored to have world-class institutions Fidelity Management and Research Company and NEA on board."
"We believe Wheels Up has the rare combination of experienced entrepreneurs, business model innovation, and a strong financial model. Wheels Up has developed network density and provides real customer value. It has the potential to be a much larger company," said Henry Ellenbogen, portfolio manager at T. Rowe Price.
About Wheels Up
Wheels Up is a revolutionary membership-based private aviation company that significantly reduces the upfront cost to fly privately, while providing unparalleled flexibility, service and safety. Created and led by Kenny Dichter, the Founder of Marquis Jet and innovator of the 25-hour fractional jet card, Wheels Up offers aircraft with guaranteed availability on its private fleet of new Beechcraft King Air 350i and Citation Excel/XLS aircraft. Operating with an 8760 culture (24 hours a day, 365 days of the year), the Company offers individual, family and corporate members exceptional world-class service with around the clock support. The cutting-edge Wheels Up mobile app enables members to seamlessly book flights, manage their accounts and participate in ride-share opportunities. Wheels Up Members also have access to the Wheels Down program, featuring exclusive lifestyle events and experiences, unique partner benefits and a full-service luxury concierge, which is also integrated in the Wheels Up app.
Wheels Up acts as agent for the Wheels Up Members, and is not the operator of the program aircraft; FAA licensed and DOT registered air carriers participating in the program exercise full operational control of the program aircraft. Any aircraft owned or leased by Wheels Up are dry leased to the operating air carrier to facilitate operations by that carrier. For additional information, please visit www.wheelsup.com.