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AeroCloud – Taking on a $20bn Legacy Market with Cloud-Native Tech

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Published Date 25.07.2023

Co-founded by George Richardson and Ian Forde-Smith in Macclesfield in 2019, AeroCloud is the only cloud-native airport management platform using AI and machine learning (ML) to empower airports to plan, monitor and improve airport operations and the passenger experience using real-time data.  

Our mission is to be the largest provider of airport automation software for the small to medium-sized airport market globally, and to provide solutions to technical and operational problems facing aviation – an industry that has traditionally been slow to innovate and embrace digital transformation.

Taking on a legacy tech market  

We are a true tech disruptor that’s taking on a legacy technology market worth $20bn. A testament to our David vs. Goliath story is raising three rounds of funding, including our Series A earlier this year to fuel our growth. As one of our investors at Stage 2 Capital said, “In only a small time, AeroCloud has become the definitive operating software for small to medium-sized airports”. 

Today, we are powering innovation in an industry that has been slow to evolve. We now have 48 customers, including Manchester Airport in the UK and Sarasota Bradenton International Airport in the US, and our software is now processing more than 190 million passengers annually. Designed to streamline and optimize airport operations, our comprehensive solutions help airports operate efficiently and cost-effectively. Our cloud-native intelligent Airport Operations System (AOS) uses predictive AI and machine learning to make the jobs of airport operations, IT and commercial teams easier. Together with a range of Passenger Processing Solutions and AeroCloud Optic, our industry-first passenger track and count solution, AeroCloud is revolutionising airport operations across the globe.

Here are a few of our recent highlights that have got us to the shortlist:  

Securing Series A funding to power growth

We have always known that gaining validation from a sector that’s so familiar with legacy incumbents would be hard. That’s why we sought to gain funding, because a VC-backed business has the ability to ‘fail fast’, learn from it, and find a formula that works. Having this ability to scale rapidly is essential for achieving our mission of displacing our competitors.  

In February 2023, we raised $12.6 million in Series A – our third round. This has helped us to more than double in size since the start of 2022, including headcount, revenue, customers and ARR per customer through upselling. Not only were we able to raise capital in a particularly competitive market, but the sector’s traditional reliance on legacy incumbents also meant we are one of the few airport technology startups who have secured funding, which is a testament to how we are transforming the aviation industry. 

Pioneering sector innovation through AeroCloud Optic

Airports are constantly looking to improve their passenger experience and, as air travel returns to pre-Covid numbers, are seeking to ensure a frictionless flow of passengers at each stage of their journey, from check-in to security and boarding. Essentially, the full journey from kerb to gate. But historically, no technology has been able to do this accurately, with previous solutions including Wi-Fi, Lidar, and Bluetooth all failing.  

In March this year, we launched AeroCloud Optic – an industry-first computer vision solution that intelligently, anonymously and accurately tracks passengers as they move through an airport. Our AI algorithm is the only solution on the market that can re-identify passengers along their journey. We worked with two customers to trial and finesse the solution, including Liverpool John Lennon Airport, whose Operations Director, Paul Staples, described Optic as the ‘holy grail’ of commercial activity after battling for over 10 years to accurately track how passengers move through the airport.  

With the launch of AeroCloud Optic, we have cemented our position as a pioneer and leader in our sector. We’re proud to deliver a game-changing technology which the industry has been crying out for; incorporating modern technology such as cloud, AI and computer vision into the airport.

Championing the North West as a tech hub

We want to bring more investment to the North West of England and help cement its position as a global tech hub. That’s why we’re committed to GEO-based hiring in the region and have increased our headcount from six team members to 48 in three years. In the last year, this includes several senior hires to bolster the company’s leadership team and support the strategic direction needed to grow and overcome challenges. Our plan is to use our Series A funding to continue hiring tech talent and bring more innovations to market.

A few closing words from our CEO, George Richardson, who said: “We’re immensely proud at how far we have come in only a few years. We’re causing waves in our sector as the only cloud-native player – taking on a legacy market to improve how airports operate and bringing industry-first technology to market. And we’re also incredibly passionate to bring more attention to the North West as a thriving technology ecosystem; something we hope to help build in the years to come. It’s great to be recognised for our achievements through our shortlist in the UK Business Tech Awards and we look forward to the awards evening.” 

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