Cambodian-based private aviation booking company – Yugo Private Aviation – successfully raised $300,000 in pre-Seed round funding to further develop its mobile and online applications.
The Singaporian registered company – Yugo Global Industries Pte Ltd – raised capital from “Angel Investors and Family Offices” with plans to release Yugo’s App on Android and iOS in the next coming months.
Yugo’s technical development team is based in Phnom Penh and has successfully released a web platform that was useful for the testing phase.
Jim Baldy, CEO of Yugo told Cambodia Investment Review that being digital is core to Yugo adding the goal is to digitize segments of the private aviation industry such as private jet and helicopter bookings.
Yugo successfully organised flights in Asia and in Europe and is now looking to raise a Seed fundraising to increase digitalisation.
More importantly, we would like to make the pre-and after booking experience as convenient as possible for our customers as well, he added.
The company offers all-in exclusive package deals including private flights, stay-ins, memorable activities and in-flight customization, thus providing travellers with a unique door-to-door experience.
“We are happy with some of our partnerships with Cambodian companies, including within the hospitality sector, where our members and non-members can access special rates, benefits and upgrades,” Baldy said.
“We have also already had flights in Cambodia and we aim to actively contribute to the reopening of Cambodia to Tourism and Business. Our teams are working closely with some tourism partners,” he added.
Baldy said the capital raising process had been very helpful to the company, enabling investors to provide interesting feedback for improvement.
“While the investors have been analyzing the mission of Yugo thoroughly, they have considered the company’s overall value proposition as well,” he added.
Some local investors have commented to Cambodia Investment Review that it would be preferable to have Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) in raising capital.
Investors are increasingly applying non-financial factors as part of their analysis process to identify material risks and growth opportunities.
In response Baldy said, “Yugo is closely entwined with ESG and develops a marketplace that enables more customers to use an optimized fleet utilization, thus contributing to reducing carbon emissions.”
“Yugo is striving to offer carbon-neutral solutions and find new initiatives to achieve positive climate action, resulting in a more sustainable and resilient future,” he added.
Yugo’s current main international routes include Phnom Penh to Bangkok, Singapore, and Hong Kong, while for domestic routes, Yugo connects Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville, Shinta Mani Wild, Koh Kong or Koh Rong.
A privatised King Air Beechcraft for 8 passengers’ costs $3,000 per hour. The private jet can fly from Phnom Penh to Bangkok for $10,000++ for 8 passengers.
Based on the travel specifications of VIP travellers, Yugo provides best suited flight options on which the company takes a percentage of the overall cost and booking fees.
The mobile application will also have e-payment solutions with the company already having payment solutions partners and looking to continue growing the payment ecosystem.
The preferred method of payments in Cambodia is rapidly transitioning from cash to digital-based payments, leapfrogging credit and debit card payments still popular in developed nations.
Cambodia’s central bank has already launched its own digital payment application ‘Bakong’ now claimed to have registered over 200,000 users.
Yugo has stated it aims to contribute to increasing connectivity with the safety and privacy of passengers in both Southeast Asia and Asia Pacific.
“We are building the infrastructure for the future of air mobility. The eVTOL (Electric Vertical Take-Off), also called “flying taxis” will be coming in the next five years and countries like Cambodia need to be ready,” Baldy said.
Despite the COVID 19 pandemic severely impacting tourism and hospitality sectors – one of Cambodia’s economic pillars – Yugo has previously reported a 20% increase in demand since March and is cash-flow positive.
Asian Development Bank has forecast 5.5% growth in 2022 after downgrading this year’s forecast to 1.9% – down from 4.0% in its April outlook.