Naverus, Extra $4M in Tow, Looks to Redesign Flight Paths, Saving Time, Fuel, and Emissions
(Page 2 of 2)
5 percent, which could add up to $1 billion in the total fuel bill of airlines. (According to the International Civil Aviation Organization, improvements in air traffic management and other operations could reduce aviation fuel burn by 8 to 18 percent.) “The economic benefits more than pay for themselves,” Hall says.
Naverus provides the onboard navigation software and flight patch design for airlines and air navigation service providers, as well as consulting, training, and support for pilots, air traffic controllers, and aviation executives. The challenge is introducing new technology into the well-entrenched aviation market, which has lots of slow-moving pieces. Hall says Naverus sold its product directly to airlines for the first few years, but has since found that it works better to also involve air traffic managers, regulators, and, increasingly, foreign governments.
In the past month, Naverus has signed a deal to design advanced navigation procedures for Air China’s Airbus 330 fleet at Lhasa Gongarr airport, as well as Sichuan Airlines, which brings the company’s number of Chinese airline customers to four. Naverus also has airline customers in Australia and Canada, to go along with manufacturing giants Boeing and Airbus. The company is working with the Swedish government to do a national assessment of that country’s airspace and aviation practices. “That’s a growth area in our business,” says Ken Shapero, director of marketing communications for Naverus.
So how does Naverus manage all the moving pieces as it goes about selling its navigation system? “It’s very collaborative,” Hall says. “Our product has to work with flight management systems, air traffic control, and there’s a lot of regulatory oversight.” In part because change comes so slowly in the aviation business, she adds, Naverus has figured out how to get individual organizations, like airlines, to move forward with her company’s RNP product while the broader aviation market goes through its deliberate paces.
Last week’s $4 million funding, led by San Francisco Bay Area firms Foundation Capital and East Peak Partners, follows a $10 million Series C round raised last year from Foundation, East Peak, and JGE Capital. Naverus currently has about 65 employees, and is led by Steve Forte, who succeeded Dan Gerrity as CEO last year. The company is pretty bullish about its business, despite the economy. “The market right now is quite good for us,” Hall says, in that there is lots of pressure in the industry to save money and reduce emissions. “We’re an important piece of an overall solution.”