Row 44 Competitor Gets Funding Injection

A major competitor to Westlake Village-based Row 44, which develops Wi-Fi equipment for the commercial aviation market, has scored a big funding round this morning. Illinois-based Aircell, which provides a competing, in-flight Internet access service to Row 44, said it has raised $35M in funding from its private equity investors. Those investors include Ripplewood Holdings, Blumenstein/Thorne Information Partners and other investment entities associated with Oakleigh Thorne. Row 44's systems use a satellite-based uplink to provide its Wi-Fi on commercial airlines such as Southwest; Aircell is using air-to-ground connections using EVDO Rev A links to cell phone networks on such airlines as American Airlines.