'Uber for private jets' startup raises $20 million from Saudi Royal Family and Jay Z

JetSmarter is an app that makes it easy for anyone to book a flight on a private jet in a matter of seconds.

Chartering a private jet can be a hassle, even for the rich and powerful. Traditionally, booking private travel has been a confusing and stressful process, with lots of forms and back-and-forth with brokers.

Sergey Petrossov wanted to simplify that process, so he built JetSmarter, an app that makes it easy for anyone to book a flight on a private jet in a matter of seconds.

"I started the company out of a frustration with the process," Petrossov reportedly told Business Insider. "I kept thinking to myself, 'Why hasn't this service been brought into the digital world?'"

According to sources, the company offers three different products: JetDeals, which involves booking a one-way private flight on demand; JetShuttle, which allows you to grab a seat on a previously scheduled private flight; and JetCharter, which offers private travel packages that can be completely customized by route and aircraft.

Sources say JetSmarter members pay $9,000 a year — roughly $800 a month — to get unlimited access to private flights. JetSmarter will currently fly you anywhere in the world, except for war zones or other places deemed too dangerous for air travel.

Though you don't have to pay the annual membership fee to get access to any of the packages, members can book flights with JetDeals and JetShuttle for free on the app, which is available for both iOS and Android.

"People fly private so they don't have to go through the airport. You can show up five minutes before the flight, park your car right next to the jet, and then just get on your flight," Petrossov said. JetSmarter even provides free helicopter transport from the airport to your final destination.

Many have compared JetSmarter's operating model to Uber's ride-hailing services.

"From an accessibility standpoint, you could compare it to any real-time, on-demand service," Petrossov said. "There's definitely a relevance to Uber in terms of how disruptive the technology is."

The long-term goal, Petrossov says, is to eventually make all air travel private.

"If we're able to charge economy prices, we think we can get people to walk away from the atrocious commercial airline experience," he said.

Sources reveal that JetSmarter announced Thursday that it has closed a $20 million Series B round. Contributing investors include the Saudi Royal Family, several unnamed entertainment moguls, and "high net worth individuals," as well as executives from Goldman Sachs and Twitter.

According to Business Insider Jay Z also contributed to the funding round.


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