Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the worldwide commercial aviation industry was on pace to generate $872B in revenue. This represents a 4.05% increase over 2019. However, the pandemic derailed this trend of increasing growth, costing billions of dollars in lost revenue.
While it may take several years for the commercial aviation industry to fully recover, many organizations are taking a proactive approach. Several high-profile companies in the private sector are seeking to accelerate this recovery by providing funding opportunities to emerging aviation technology developers.
These funds can give technological entrepreneurs and stakeholders the resources they need to develop exciting new products.
In the article below, we have identified some of the top private sector funding opportunities for aviation technology developers. These entities are located in various regions around the globe and offer “accelerator” programs as a means of fueling innovation within the avionics industry.
FTE Innovation & Startup Hub
The Future Travel Experience Innovation & Startup Hub was launched in 2018. While this “hub” is not a private sector funding provider, it can help your organization connect with investors and major companies within the avionics industry.
The FTE platform has two primary pillars, which are the FTE Innovation Hub and the FTE Startup Hub.
The FTE Innovation Hub is a massive air transport innovation network. The FTE Startup Hub is designed to connect innovators at major corporations with startups and scaleups that have a high propensity to succeed.
In addition to the two hubs outlined above, the Future Travel Experience has a two-tier membership program. The free membership is designed specifically for startups.
As a Startup Member, your company will gain access to a variety of benefits, including the ability to network with other startups and the opportunity to connect with Corporate Partners.
The FTE Innovation & Startup Hub’s current group of Corporate Partners include top names within the aviation industry. By becoming a member, you can gain the opportunity to pitch your idea to major corporations such as United, jetBlue, Los Angeles World Airports, Japan Airlines, and more.
With that being said, it is vital to deliver a well-composed pitch deck and highlight the strengths of your project with a customized marketing strategy. That is why you should partner with a marketing firm that has a unique understanding of the travel and aviation industry.
The bwtech incubator program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County presents a unique opportunity for startups.
The bwtech facility is a five-building business park that includes over 350,000 square feet of Class A office space and laboratories. This facility is designed specifically for research institutions and technology companies. Several major organizations utilize the business park, including NASA, the U.S. Geological Survey, and Allegis.
The bwtech incubator program offers a variety of benefits, including collaboration opportunities, mentorship, and grant support. It also provides the opportunity to connect with major players within the aviation industry.
If it is accepted into the program, your organization will gain access to the office and lab space at reduced rates. You will also be eligible to receive grant funding and will have the opportunity to meet with bwtech’s Technology Advisory Board.
Meetings with the board are conducted semi-annually and are designed to provide you with additional guidance, feedback, and recommendations that will improve your eligibility for further incubation support.
While the bwtech incubator program does not have any aviation-specific programs per-se, your organization may be eligible to apply for one of the broader incubator options.
The three classes of incubator programs are Cyber Incubator, Biotech Incubator, and Govtech Incubator. The Cyber Incubator program is particularly appealing to startups in the aviation industry, as membership encompasses emerging businesses that provide technology services and IT products.
As one of the largest airliner manufacturers in the world, Airbus is known for its innovative products and services. The company primarily manufactures commercial aircraft, but it also has robust “Space and Defense” and “Helicopter” divisions.
While the organization has a wealth of in-house talent, they are always seeking to capitalize on new technology by partnering with startups.
With that goal in mind, Airbus launched the BizLab program. This global aerospace accelerator program has four locations: Toulouse, France; Madrid, Spain; Hamburg, Germany; and Bangalore, India.
Airbus’ BizLab program is truly unique in that it allows entrepreneurs to partner with Airbus “Intrapreneurs.”
Startups that are accepted into the program will partake in a six-month acceleration process. During this time, you will have the opportunity to interact with numerous Airbus coaches, support staff, and industry experts. You will receive free hosting and will receive business and technical advice from Airbus personnel.
At the conclusion of the six-month acceleration period, your startup will partake in a Demo Day. You will have the ability to pitch your technology to top Airbus decision-makers, B2B clients, and venture capitalists.
Since the BizLab program was started in 2015, more than 50 startups have completed the acceleration process and raised a total of 19.5 million Euros.
AAAE’s Airport Innovation Accelerator
The American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE)’s Airport Innovation Accelerator is different from a traditional incubator program. Instead of providing lab space and other resources, it serves as a hub for connecting startups with investors, innovators, and airports.
Several major airports, including Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, and Greater Rochester International Airport, are all a part of the AAAE’s Airport Innovation Index.
In total, the AAAE Airport Innovation Accelerator includes over 5,000 members that encompass more than 800 airports. They also partner with airliners and government entities.
These entities can query the index to locate projects that are still in development. By applying for and being accepted into the AAAE Airport Innovation Accelerator, you can increase awareness about your work and have your project added to the index.
In addition to helping you connect with major airports, the AAAE program serves as a funneling program that connects startups with investors. You can also use Airport Innovation Accelerator resources to validate the need for your product during the pre-planning phase.
As part of their efforts to drive innovation within the avionics industry, AAAE offers mentoring services to help your organization navigate the complex airport marketplace. The program can become a valuable asset to new startups and more mature companies that are seeking opportunities for private sector funding.
How AGX Marketing Can Help You Fund Your New Project
Are you a stakeholder that has been seeking a way to obtain additional funds for your aviation technology investment? Have you recently launched a new avionics startup that is focused on creating an innovative new product that will change the landscape of the industry? Do you need assistance navigating the private sector grant funding process? If so, then you need a team like AGX Marketing in your corner.
While the entities that we’ve identified can provide funding or connect you with private sector investors, obtaining these resources requires a cohesive marketing strategy.
Our experienced marketing experts can guide you through the complex and tedious process of applying for private sector funding. We will help you compose a compelling bid for grant funding and teach you how to market your avionics technology more effectively. Contact us today to take advantage of a free consultation.