By Claire West

Rocket.Route.com set to launch sat nav of the sky
Aviation navigation company RocketRoute.com has secured £220,000 of equity investment, including £40,000 from a consortium of investor members at Thames Valley Investment Network, a business angel network that helps growing companies raise funding and operates in Reading and the Thames Valley. The new funding will enable RocketRoute.com to take its online flight planning service to market.

Surrey-based RocketRoute.com has created an online service that allows pilots to promptly generate and file flight plans up to thirty minutes before departure. The company’s innovative product solves a significant problem for many pilots, from executive jet operators to weekend enthusiasts.
Currently, preparing a route and filing with the correct authorities is a manual and time consuming process for pilots who do not have the luxury of their own flight operations department. RocketRoute cuts this task from an hour or more of planning to a matter of just a few minutes. Pilots can log in from a PC or any internet-ready mobile phone to generate a route and file it. The service is quick, easy to use and cost effective.

Kurt Lyall, co-founder of RocketRoute.com, said: “We want to give every pilot a flight planning experience that matches the quality enjoyed by the most advanced airlines operating their own flight planning team. We are doing this using internet economics at a low price and challenging today’s market perception.”

Lyall said: “Other competitor offerings are either complex to use or too expensive. What TomTom did to the car navigation market, we would like to repeat for aviation navigation. We estimate that in Europe there are 200,000 pilots and 110,000 of these could benefit from using RocketRoute.”

The industry segments RocketRoute.com is particularly targeting include companies involved in business charters, air taxis and airlines with a small number of aircraft.

As route planning is traditionally a labour intensive task, RocketRoute.com’s solution can save airline operators significant staffing costs, and free up employees for other tasks. Single pilots and small aviation companies can in effect outsource their route planning using RocketRoute.com.

Amateur pilot Tony Carter is the lead investor of the TVIN consortium and has joined the RocketRoute board as a non-executive director. He said: “I’m very aware of the complexity of pre-flight planning and then navigating across controlled airspace. I can see why RocketRoute.com is highly attractive to pilots. When you fly an aircraft from A to B, it is expensive. Something that makes things easier and cheaper is just what’s required.”

Kurt Lyall welcomed the new funding round: “Justin Coelho, Uwe Nitsche, Mike Flynn and I are delighted, as company founders, to have secured our start-up funding. This enables us to focus on implementing our strategy.”

RocketRoute.com has the potential to grow rapidly in the coming few years. Lyall said: “In our first year we want to be established in Europe as a recognised innovator for flight planning. In five years, we hope to be the dominant provider to pilots in Europe for small jet operators and general aviation.”

Carter added: “RocketRoute.com is an obvious choice for jet operators and pilots wanting to save money and get a better service at the same time.”

Leo Dunne, investment network manager at TVIN, said: “RocketRoute impressed me with the clarity of their business concept. There appeared to be a market opportunity and the management team had the ability to communicate this effectively. This was quickly picked up by TVIN investors, one of whom — Tony Carter — took the lead role in taking the investment forward to completion. We are confident that the team now assembled, including the new investors, will successfully grow the business. It was also a pleasure to work again with Keystone Law, the legal team responsible for the corporate work on this deal.”