Atlanta’s Volantio, which provides software that helps airlines maximize ticket revenue while minimizing the pain of rebooking passengers, has raised a $2.6 million funding round.
The Series B round was led by Ingleside Investors with participation from three airline venture funds that have never partnered on a deal before: JetBlue Technology Ventures, Australia’s Qantas Ventures and British Airways/Iberia parent company IAG.
It’s even more international validation for an Atlanta-based shop that has seen its growth lift off since introducing its Yana platform last year.
“The platform is taking off globally, as we’re now working with four major airlines, with a number of additional ones in the pipeline,” Mr. Barodawala told Global Atlanta by email, declining to comment on revenues. “Our main measure of traction is the number of airlines we have working with us today.”
The interface uses machine learning and algorithms to help airlines identify and contact passengers who might be likely to give up their seats on overbooked flights, replacing the stress-inducing model of gate auctions. Volantio received a flurry of press coverage after it was revealed that United Airlines was using the system in the wake of its “passenger-dragging” fiasco.
In a news release, Volantio CEO Azim Barodawala described Yana as a “triple-win,” helping all stakeholders involved in the complex airline booking process.
“Flexible passengers receive a benefit for changing their travel plans, last-minute travelers are able to access flights that otherwise would have been full, and airlines can better maximize network capacity and unit revenue, while putting greater predictability and control back in the hands of their customers,” he said.
Volantio got started by providing marketing software to some of the world’s largest airline players, with a strong emphasis on engagement around the world. It has been part of multiple accelerators, including IAG’s Hangar 51 and Qanta’s AVRO program. The company also was selected for the Atlanta Sister Cities International Startup Exchange with Toulouse, France.
Global Atlanta last year profiled Mr. Barodawala’s journey from Australia, where he worked for multiple airlines, back to Atlanta, where he’d spent a previous stint in Boston Consulting Group’s local office.
When he returned, Volantio set up shop in the Flatiron City development downtown.
With the new investment, the company plans to hire about five software developers and will likely stretch its legs into new office space at Flatiron, but it’s not planning to uproot itself from what has been a hospitable base. Asked whether it’s firmly planted here in Atlanta, which has sometimes found it hard to keep fast-growing startups, Mr. Barodawala didn’t waver: “Yes, absolutely.”