Source: Lauren Coffey – TBBJ & Inno Reporter, Tampa Bay Business Journal

A Sarasota-based luxury jet club has closed a $9.75 million Series A round, a stepping stone toward going public next summer.

AeroVanti Air Club has most of its operations in Sarasota, with the remainder in Maryland. The company was founded July 1, 2020, with an initial roughly $2 million “friends and family round.” The latest Series A was led by New Jersey bank Network1 Financial Securities Inc., the company’s financial institution.

The funding will be used to expand the company’s clients, employees and real estate footprint. It currently has 50 employees, with 30 of those serving as pilots. It has roughly 17,000 square feet of hangar space in Sarasota; CEO and founder Patrick Britton-Harr said the company is “always looking for more.”

“It’s a very exclusive but inclusive program, and we’re to grow the business through word of mouth,” Britton-Harr said. “For us, that’s a nice way to get in, develop, put in proper maintenance center and get the right people and parties associated to handle the demand. We’re going to the most strategic locations.”

Britton-Harr is a third-generation pilot and serial entrepreneur. He initially invested in two Piaggio P. 180 Avanti aircraft for his family, with cabin space 6 feet tall and wide and lower carbon emissions than other aircraft. The company currently has about 350 customers.

“We were looking at safety, first and foremost,” he said. “Then our friends and family started using them; it became a business model.”

The model offers a charter aviation club, which includes access to the jet fleet and services such as handling catering and transportation requests.

“Our core company is through the hospitality perspective,” Britton-Harr said. “It’s combining hospitality provisions into the member perspective and parlay that with a proper aircraft.”

Britton-Harr states the company has had 20 times its growth since its launch in 2020, most recently acquiring Arizona-based Marjet Aviation in March for an undisclosed amount. There’s the potential to add a complementary charter yacht service to the company’s offerings, which would be based out of Tampa.

After that: filing an initial public offering to go public.

“We feel we have a great model, setup and platform — and combine that with young pilots and proper credentials, an IPO is just the right solution for us,” Britton-Harr said, adding while the market may be down, he believes travel will remain on top. “I’m a serial entrepreneur, but I want to get to the point of having the proper group in perpetuity. It’s something we want to push forward many generations.”