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Private charter company Wheels Up now worth $1.1 billion

Michael Van Schoik

Wheels Up, a membership-based private aviation company, is making big strides to place itself at the top of the private charter industry.

The air transportation company announced Friday that it completed a $128 million round of funding that now places the company at a value of $1.1 billion.

The Class D equity capital raise included Franklin Templeton, which co-led the round with funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price and Fidelity Management & Research, along with other investors.

The startup's raise follows its recent acquisition of Travel Management Company, which closed in May. The company plans to use the funding for future acquisitions, the acceleration of membership growth through further investment in sales and marketing, as well as a significant build-up of the company's technology and digital platforms.

"The continued support from our existing investors and the strong interest from new institutions in our latest investment round reinforce the dominance that Wheels Up continues to exhibit as an innovative disruptor and leading force in the private aviation and technology industries," Kenny Dichter, Wheels Up Founder and CEO, said in a statement.

Ditcher said the company's future business initiatives will help will complete the "vision of building the world's most engaged community of private fliers."

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Wheels Up serves more than 6,000 customers, including several celebrities and professional athletes like Tom Brady, Serena Williams, professional golfer Rickie Fowler and Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt.

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