Seattle Avionics, a player in the aviation data and apps market with the FlyQ EFB app, has been bought by AFV partners. The sale was announced this week and co-founder Steve Podradchik told AVweb the acquisition should give the company an injection of capital to ramp up marketing and expand the company’s reach into the aviation data market.
AFV is little known in general aviation. It was formed and is managed by Tony Aquila, an entrepreneur and inventor who previously founded (and subsequently sold) Solera Holdings, a startup aimed at creating a digital revolution in the insurance and mobility industries. Solera was sold to Vista Equity Partners in 2016 in a sale that reportedly valued the company at $6.5 billion.
In addition to Seattle Avionics, AFV also includes Rocket Route, a flight planning app focused on European GA flight operations, and the Denver-based Aircraft Performance Group, whose iPreflight app is used by business operators to calculate runway performance data on the fly. If AFV follows the Solera model, additional aviation acquisitions are likely.
According to a recent report in our sister publication, Aviation Consumer, Seattle’s FlyQ EFB places fourth in market share, behind ForeFlight, Garmin’s Pilot and FltPlan Go, which Garmin also owns. According to the survey, FlyQ is well liked by users, finishing second in ease of use, cockpit integration and cost/value, according to the magazine’s survey.
Podradchik told AVweb that Seattle is a natural fit with the other two companies and between them, the new entity gives Seattle leverage to expand its capabilities in the aviation data business. “He wants to shake up the aviation industry a lot,” Podradchik said of Aquila’s intent. “This isn’t like a Wall Street company picking up companies and milking them to death to get cash out of it. They’re putting a lot of money into each of these companies, applying managerial know how and a bigger company outlook on things,” he said.
In addition to the FlyQ app, Seattle has been a major supplier of chart data and navigation data to smaller companies competing against the Boeing-owned Jeppesen. “What it means for us is that we have massive resources in both dollars and people and some of their technology from the other projects to help FlyQ grow really fast. On the data side is where it becomes even more interesting,” Podradchik said, explaining that the additional resources will allow Seattle to expand beyond a U.S. focus. He said Seattle will retain its own brand identity.