Three grounded Aer Lingus pilots have raised over €500,000 during the Covid-19 lockdown for their start-up company, Frequency.
Frequency is an internet-based communication system.
Its aim is to ensure communication lines between the aircraft, maintenance and operations control are kept open all the times, which will improve decision-making during airline turnarounds.
The three pilots - Justin Perry, Darach O’Comhrai and Kris Vansteenkiste - have more than 40 years of flying experience between them.
They used Irish equity crowdfunding platform Spark Crowdfunding, where they ran a 30-day campaign to raise funds in exchange for equity in their company.
The campaign raised €278,000.
The start-up then received match funding of €250,000 from Enterprise Ireland.
“Everything came together during lockdown. We weren’t flying so had extra time to do fundraising. It has been a benefit to us,” Frequency chief executive and Aer Lingus first officer Justin Perry said.
“We are also getting airtime with airlines. Previously they were so busy, but now have the time to talk to us,” he added.
Spark Crowdfunding founder and CEO Chris Burge said the funds raise by Frequency shows that despite the pandemic, there is still an appetite to invest in high potential start-ups.
“People see that Frequency is an exciting new business, providing airlines with the opportunity for greater efficiency, which will be vital for lower costs and competitiveness post-Covid,” Mr Burge said.
Mr Perry said the start-up was inspired by the pilots’ daily frustration using, what he said is, an overly complex system that relies on "inefficient, unreliable, and dated forms of communication."
Spark Crowdfunding has seen a 75pc surge in business during the Covid-19 pandemic, as cash-strapped business turn to the equity crowdfunding platform for financial support.
Investors can invest anything from €100 upwards in exchange for a stake in the company they invest in.
To date, the platform has raised in excess of €2.4m for 14 Irish start-ups.