JetSmarter Inc., which is a Florida-based startup endorsed by the famous rapper Jay-Z and the Saudi royal family, has achieved fresh funds of over $105 million as it hopes to make booking private jets easier using a mobile app.
The company claims that the money was raised from an assortment of investors such as venture capitalists, fund managers, celebrities, and technologists. The company has raised over $157 million in several funding rounds over the course of last four years.
The company sited at Fort Lauderdale works by buying empty seats from private-jet operators and then providing them to their members through its app. The seats are scheduled either on shuttle flights on major routes or empty-leg trips, where the plane is moved empty from one airport to another to pick their next passenger flight.
The latest funding has come from Shawn Carter, or better know as Jay-Z, along with investment firm KZ Capital, private jet company Jet Edge International, Abu Dhabi’s growth equity fund and a Qatari private equity fund.
Wayne Chang, who is a product strategy executive at Twitter Inc. and an ex-investor in the company said,
“JetSmarter is bringing private aviation to everyone. In the world of long security lines, invasive pat-downs and lost luggage, JetSmarter is a breath of fresh air to air transportation.”
The system works like an Uber taxi, although the $11,000 per year price tag for membership is a bit hefty for a commoner. The flights can also be scheduled in shuttles with weeks in advance, and they are usually confirmed 24 hours before the takeoff.
When the company started, it began with mere three routes. Now the $1.6 billion-valued company boasts about 50 routes around the world and looks to expand further into India, China, and South America.
The only way you can book a flight through JetSmarter is to be part of the 6,700 member strong group paying the annual fee of $11,000 and enjoying trips in private jets without any additional cost, although you do need to pay $2000 for flights that are not on the schedule.
Only this year, the service is expected to fly between 50,000 and 55,000 unique passengers. The joining fee into this elite circle is also $4,000, which helps to fix the annual rate for the membership.
Founder and CEO Sergey, Mr. Petrossov said that the company plans to add different packages for different users, such as lower cost ones for short travel between, for example, Los Angeles and San Francisco or New York and Washington. They are mulling over the idea of costing as low as $1 per mile using propeller planes, which would certainly expand its target audience.
JetSmarter Inc. has an employee base of about 250 people working in their London, Zurich, Moscow, Dubai and Florida offices.
You can check out their website for more information.
What are your thoughts on the Uber service of airplanes?