Latin American private aviation company Flapper has announced a $2 million Series A investment led by the aerospace-focused fund Confrapar. Other participants included the crowdfunding platform SMU and an angel investor group Investidores. A number of foreign and local investors, including three undisclosed air taxi companies, also participated in the round. The company has previously raised $1 million Seed funding, led by Confrapar and ACE, Brazil's largest accelerator.
According to Flapper CEO Paul Malicki, the capital will be used primarily to fuel its international expansion in Latin America. “We have proved that the business model, based on on-demand charter flights and seat-sharing is not only scalable but also highly profitable,” Malicki says. “We hence consider our Series A as purely growth capital; we intend to use to replicate the success of our Brazilian operations elsewhere in the region, while continuing to develop our core product and new solutions for air taxi operators.”
Confrapar managing partner and Flapper board member Kadu Guillaume adds: “The present pandemic has fundamentally changed the travel sector, and Flapper is well-positioned to further democratise access to business aviation services. We've seen a number of disruptive technologies, including eVTOL, hybrid-electric aircraft and flight sharing interfaces, getting closer to technical maturity, and it's clear that in the next five years we will experience a fundamental change in the way aerial mobility is being consumed.” Confrapar has previously invested in the energy storage provider Unicoba and the UAV company xmobots.
In 2020, Flapper grew its year-on-year revenues by 100 per cent, having reached 250,000 mobile app users by the end of January 2021. The company has so far accrued more than 550 safety-vetted aircraft on its charter platform, roughly 55 per cent of the charter fleet available in Latin America. It estimates the market size of the Latam charter market to be the equivalent of at least $2 billion, mostly split between Brazil and Mexico.
Today, Brazil boasts a network of 2,457 airports, out of which roughly 120 are connected through commercial aviation. The country is considered the second largest business aviation market in the world, just behind the US. Lack of consumer technology and an efficient seat distribution strategy has resulted in an under-utilised sector, where only 22 per cent of all flights are commercialised by air taxi companies, according to the Brazilian civil aviation authority ANAC. Flapper's own research demonstrates that Brazil has more than 400,000 potential clients for charters and 2.7 million future pay-per-seat buyers. Mexico, the world's third largest business aviation market, has recently surpassed Brazil in the number of private jets, but it lags behind in terms of turboprops and helicopters.