SmartSky Networks, provider of high-speed in-flight internet, has raised $66.65 million from five investors in a private stock offering, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

The first sale occurred on Feb. 2, and the company does not intend the offering to last for more than one year.

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Haynes Griffin signed the form and did not specify how the company intends to use the proceeds.

SmartSky plans to roll out its air-to-ground network, SmartSky 4G, later this year, with nationwide coverage slated for 2017.

Customers will be able to use their own devices to send and receive emails with large attachments, send text messages and make phone calls.

  • VIDEO: Watch an overview presentation about SmartSky at

SmartSky is the only in-flight network using cell phone towers rather than satellites to offer connectivity, made possible by cost-effective patented technology, according to the company’s website.

SmartSky’s internet service is targeted for mid-size and larger cabin business aviation and commercial aircraft operators.

Last year, SmartSky, previously Jetpool Ventures, entered into a strategic partnership with Melbourne, Florida–based Avidyne Corporation, provider of computer network and safety systems for aircraft.

What SmartSky offers: “Improved Performance + Lower Costs”

SmartSky 4G brings bidirectional, high bandwidth and extremely low latency to inflight connectivity. Leverage SmartSky 4G through SmartSky Select, which identifies apps and services that have been tailored to run on our fast network, thus generating significant benefits and cost savings, including reducing direct operating expenses and lowering your total cost of aircraft ownership.

  • Optimized flight paths
  • Fuel savings
  • Engine/airframe monitoring
  • Analytics and predictive maintenance
  • Continuous hi-def weather and turbulence mapping
  • Data sensor collection

“For the first time, you’ll be able to do the things you want and need while in the air. Use your own devices to send and receive emails with large attachments. (spreadsheets and presentations) Use your smartphone with your phone number for Text messages and calls. All this is made possible by our patented, 4G beamforming technology using 60 MHz of wireless spectrum and built upon a cost-effective, air-to-ground (ATG) platform of cell towers rather than satellites.”

Source: SmartSky

SmartSky and Avidyne will work together to provide products and services with price points targeted for lower-end general aircraft, which are not currently served.

Griffin is a wireless industry pioneer and serial entrepreneur who founded and led Vanguard Cellular Systems from commercial launch to its initial public offering and eventual sale in 1999 to AT&T. He is also the past chairman of the board of the CTIA wireless trade association.

This is SmartSky’s fifth private stock offering since it was incorporated in 2011.

The company raised $12 million from 45 investors, used for working capital expense, including payment of salaries, according to the company’s second-most recent filing signed by President Ryan Stone in May 2015.

Note: This story is from the North Carolina Business News Wire, a service of UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Media and Journalism.