Crowd funding is one of the big buzz words out there, and something I’m involved in a bit for my day job. Things like Kickstarter have increased visibility to many folks that would never consider being an “investor”.
Crowd funding company Circle Up has stepped into the airline space. Kind of.
The U.S.-based airline, which has a minority investment from Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, will use CircleUp as a way to identify new snacks and drinks that could be served on its flights. Virgin America declined to comment on the financial terms of its agreements with CircleUp-backed companies.
It sounds cool, though I’m a bit unsure how this will actually work. A company comes up with a great product and is able to get it in front of Virgin America somehow may be able to use Circle Up to get funding to produce a large order for the airline. But, I don’t see Circle Up providing a pipeline of products for Virgin America to take a look at.
I do think that start-up snack companies looking to pitch an airline would likely need funding in that an initial order probably isn’t all that profitable. The airlines must know that they represent a great opportunity to small companies to gain massive exposure to the general population so they probably have considerable pricing power.
The deal terms are sealed, but I’d be curious to see what the partnership looks like and whether CircleUp “paid” for the partnership in some way.