A second startup hoping to cash in on the the growing popularity of in-flight internet access has raised a big round. Row 44, which is in the process of outfitting all of Southwest Airlines’ planes with WiFi access, has raised $37 million in a round of funding, we have confirmed. The investment, which was first reported by the LA Times, comes eight months after Row 44′s main rival, Aircell, which is behind the GoGo inflight wireless service, raised its own huge $175 million round.
In-flight WiFi is taking off in the U.S., disrupting one of the last markets where print media might have had an advantage over digital competition. According to a recent report, revenue from in-flight broadband access is expected to reach $95 million this year, up from $7 million in 2009. So far, Aircell’s GoGo has dominated the market through deals with American Airlines, United, Delta, and U.S. Airways, among others. Row 44 says it plans to use its new cash to expand abroad.