Sergey Petrossov helps get the world flying again
Entrepreneur Sergey Petrossov wants to do with private jets what Uber and Lyft have done for cars. In 2009, he first experienced the luxury and the complication of booking a private jet.
The tech developer was awed that booking a jet required analog step after analog step. You still made phones calls. You still completed physical paperwork and signed it with a pen. The 29-year-old businessman created JetSmarter, an app that lets you book private jets for solo flights or shared travel.
Unlike Uber or Lyft, you purchase a membership. JetSmarter’s membership fee costs $14,000 to $15,000. Its 14,000 members can schedule their own flights or book seats on a private jet scheduled by another person.
Petrossov has attracted investors included rapper Jay-Z (Shawn Carter) and the Saudi royal family. Last year, the company gathered $105 million in investments during its financing round.
He began with a lemonade stand when he was in grade school but moved to remaking the private jet business in his 20s.
“You have this multi-billion-dollar industry that was completely analogue,” he told Money magazine. “There was no digital form in accessing it. It was highly inefficient. The planes weren’t being utilized enough. You’d have only two to three people on an average airplane. The cost was high.”
The downtime private jets experienced simply drove the rental prices up. Organizing them in an Uber-like fashion with a lower cost of entry helped get every plane flying more often. At the time he created the app, the average private airplane was flying 200 hours per year out of a potential 1,500 hours. One-third of the 200 flight hours, the planes were empty.
Last year, the company jetted 45,000 passengers across the globe. That’s a community they are building and one that connects like-minded people of similar backgrounds and financial means together. It is more than moving people by plane. It provides them a way to build community while traveling.