AvTrace Brings E-commerce to Aviation’s Spare Parts Industry

Although the aftermarket for commercial airplane parts is in the billions of dollars, there has been no robust online marketplace for this inventory. AvTrace, a new Columbus startup, is taking on the aviation industry and moving it into the future.

“The after-market for commercial airplane parts is estimated at $30 billion, yet there is no modern e-commerce platform for buying and selling these high-value items,” said John Patton, CEO of AvTrace. “Putting all the modern e-commerce features into a platform for commercial aviation spare parts is long overdue.”

AvTrace is a full-service e-commerce platform for buying and selling commercial aviation spare parts that offers buyers and sellers e-commerce tools to speed up transactions and reduce costs.

Patton, whose aviation expertise comes from dealing with hundreds of buyers and sellers as COO for a leading, global supplier of airplane parts, co-founded AvTrace to solve challenges that he understands from decades of first-hand experience. 

AvTrace Takes Buy/Sell Transactions From Days to Hours to Minutes

Imagine that you are a buyer in the purchasing department of a commercial aviation company. Whether the part you need is absolutely critical or required by a routine maintenance plan, you likely must search—even scour—multiple sources for parts listed for sale. Access to some of them (like Craigslist) is available for free. Others are accessible only by subscription, which can cost up to thousands of dollars.

“Buyers have to contact each seller by email to verify what’s available. Then they have to wait to get an email back and have to figure out who to buy from. Then they negotiate the price and then to another system to handle ERP. Then they wait for the wires and financial transactions from another system,” said Andy Curran, AvTrace president and co-founder. “And then they wait more to arrange shipping.”

AvTrace is consolidating those features under one platform and adding further financial reporting and analysis tools for the back office.

“Hours and minutes count in this industry,” said Curran, who is an experienced entrepreneur and expert in web and software development. “If you have a plane that’s on the ground, you are losing thousands of dollars in lost earnings potential. By improving the time from identifying the source to completing the purchase, both buyers and sellers are getting what they need, when they need it safely and securely.”

Paperwork Is as Important as Shipping

Startups that figure out the greatest pain point in their industry and then validate their solution solves that need have a leg up. For AvTrace, that specific pain point is quick completion of the order lifecycle.

“A trustworthy service needs to provide pre-purchase quality documents for the peer-to-peer marketplace,” Patton said. “From it, the buyer knows if the seller has listed the item properly. That real-time documentation is where the speed is.”

Patton says that with greater price transparency and instant documentation, AvTrace will help open up more aviation parts inventory to the market.

“With current systems, the paperwork is prohibitive. A medium-sized business can spend several hours on one RFQ,” he said. “Smaller vendors can gain access to more buyers with a large focus on the global market for airplane parts.”

AvTrace is partnering with several key suppliers of parts to channel buyers to AvTrace links for their supply. The company has bootstrapped progress so far and is working with early adopters to generate sales.