12 October 2016
Vela Technologies plc
("Vela", the "Company" or the "Group")
Update on investment in Portr Limited - AirPortr launches new service with British Airways
London-based travel technology start-up launches new service that allows luggage check in from your front door
The Board of Vela (AIM: VELA), the investing company focused on early-stage and pre-IPO disruptive technology investments, notes the recent press coverage on Portr Limited ("Portr"), the London-based travel tech start-up, which has launched a new service that allows check-in from your front door. Vela has an interest in 101,989 shares in Portr, equivalent to 3.9 per cent. of Portr's issued share capital.
Excerpts from Portr's press release are copied below:
"Portr, the London based travel technology start-up has today launched, in partnership with British Airways a 'game changing' new service for passengers; allowing travellers to remotely check in their luggage from any address within Greater London.
From the doorstep of your home, the hotel lobby or your desk in the City, the AirPortr + Bag Check In service with British Airways allows the passenger to travel completely bag free until they reach the destination baggage reclaim.
The launch of the new AirPortr + Bag Check In service has been funded by the start-up, which raised a £6.3 million Series A Investment round over the last year. Enabling them to expand its on-demand luggage service, providing even more passengers with the affordable luxury of luggage freedom. Investors in the recent funding round included two Venture Capital Trust Funds managed by leading London fund manager Hargreave Hale, specialist technology start-up fund Force Over Mass Capital and a number of angel investors with backgrounds in SaaS, technology and on-demand services.
AirPortr + Bag Check In is an inventive step change in travel using smart technology, allowing better connectivity for its passengers flying out from all London airports - London Heathrow, London Gatwick and London City to experience the next generation of seamless travel, and towards the next step in an end-to-end customer journey. This innovative software enables you to check in your luggage anywhere in London from your doorstep, hotel, serviced apartment or office, allowing you avoid rush hour traffic, hotel check-out luggage conundrums, so you can make the most of your day, either sightseeing or squeezing in that extra business meeting. It lets you breeze straight through to the departure gate without the need to drop off your bags.
AirPortr + Bag Check In can be pre-booked online with passengers able to select a one hour slot for pick up, giving you a customised same day service. You will need to check in for your flight with British Airways before collection, passports and boarding passes will be verified at the pick-up address. Bags are sealed in a tamper proof bag, to ensure no one can interfere with your luggage, and then securely transferred to the airport. From there your luggage is security screened to aviation standards and checked-in by AirPortr allowing you to head straight to the departure gate, skipping queues. Luggage is GPS tracked from the point it is picked up until they are passed over to British Airways at the airport, so you can track your bags throughout the process and be reassured your bags are safely on route to the airport. AirPortr also send you updates throughout their delivery process to put your mind at ease and lets you know that it has been checked in. The final step in the journey is for you to collect your luggage from baggage reclaim at your final destination.
AirPortr will deliver any size or weight item of luggage to London Heathrow, London Gatwick and London City Airport with bags checked in from a London address. Prices start from £20 for pick up from a local airport area for the first bag, £30 from central London for the first bag and outer London and Airport to Airport for £40 for the first bag, with an additional cost of £10 per additional bag. The new service offers an affordable luxury that benefits smart travellers and can help you reduce travelling costs and travel times by allowing you to use public transport rather than be stuck in traffic in a taxi.
Randel Darby, Portr CEO, said: "We are delighted to be launching AirPortr + Bag Check In with our partner, British Airways. The service has been years in the planning and is a game changer in international travel. The industry has introduced mobile check-in, self-service and tagging, digitised the passport control process and successfully introduced paper-free boarding utilising smart phone technology to improve the passenger experience. But you can still only travel as fast, or in a way that your bags will allow you to. We expend so much effort and time carrying our bags around cities, to and from airports and standing in queues because of them."
Mr Darby continued: "We've have worked closely with British Airways, our London airport partners and the Civil Aviation Authority, Department for Transport and Department for Homeland Security, to make this next generation experience a reality and prove that a convenient solution works for the consumer and is safe and secure. We are growing quickly, but reaching our business goals is only part of the success for us - we are on a mission to change the way people travel for the better and transform the industry forever."
For further information on AirPortr + Bag Check In please go to: www.AirPortr.com.'
Commenting on the news, Antony Laiker, Executive Director of the Company, said:
'Brent and I believe that this new service from Portr, in partnering with British Airways, is a game-changing event for the travel industry and has the potential to change the travel experience for many as they no longer need to check their luggage in at the airport. Arriving at the airport security-ready and heading straight for security will mean travellers should no longer need to arrive at the airport so early and stand in lengthy queues.
Randel and his team have done an incredible job getting Portr to where it is today from its launch just over two years ago. We look forward to seeing AirPortr gaining further traction by making the experience of airline travel just a little bit more enjoyable.'
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This information is provided by RNS