Skift Take

Silicon Valley sometimes mocks travel companies for not being as nimble as tech startups. So it's refreshing to learn that JetBlue Airways was a valuable mentor to Tomorrow.io, a tech startup that is now being valued at more than $700 million.

Tomorrow.io, a weather intelligence company, said Tuesday it plans to go public through a merger with Pine Technology, a blank check company. The target for the pro forma enterprise value of the combined company would be about $729 million.

Tomorrow.io offers real-time weather forecasts relevant to business operations. Its 120 enterprise customers include AeroMexico, Azul, Delta, and United — plus several other non-travel companies.

While not a travel startup, Tomorrow.io is notable for being backed by JetBlue Technology Ventures, the investing arm of U.S. airline JetBlue Airways.

JetBlue Technology Ventures joined others, including Koch Strategic Platforms, National Grid Partners, and SoftBank Group’s SB Energy, in participating in a $75 million private investment in public equity (PIPE) to support the transaction.

In 2017 JetBlue became the first commercial client of the startup for its services.

“Since that time, [the startup] has consistently delivered valuable returns to JetBlue by minimizing operational airport disruptions,” said Amy Burr, president of JetBlue Technology Ventures.

The startup’s investor pitch deck, embedded below, contains an aviation-related example. An unnamed airline in April 2019 faced a snowstorm where it needed to de-ice planes but couldn’t do it while winds surpassed 50 miles an hour. The carrier used Tomorrow.io’s micro-forecasts to find periods when the wind lessened, making de-icing was possible. Acting on the forecasts helped the airline avoid delays and save about $2 million.

The proposed transaction — part of a flurry of travel-related SPAC deals — is expected to close in the first half of 2020, and Tomorrow.io will then wait for regulatory approval to trade on New York’s Nasdaq exchange under the symbol TMW.

Here’s the investor pitch deck:

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Tags: airline operations, jetblue, jetblue airways, jetblue technology ventures, spacs, startups, venture capital

Photo credit: A JetBlue Airbus A220 aircraft outside of a hangar. Source: JetBlue.

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