As we reported this morning, Blackjet, the startup that aims to be the “Uber for private jets” by letting people book relatively lower priced private jet travel through web and mobile apps, today extended its service to two new cities: San Francisco and Las Vegas.
But TechCrunch has learned that today also brought big news for Blackjet on a more behind-the-scenes level. Shervin Pishevar has been named Blackjet’s board chairman. Pishevar is, of course, the longtime venture capitalist who recently shifted his role as partner at Menlo Ventures from partner to venture advisor to start up his own stealthy new venture called Sherpa.Pishevar has been involved with Blackjet from the beginning, working closely on the concept with co-founder Garrett Camp, who was previously the founding CEO of StumbleUpon as well as the co-founder of Uber. And Pishevar’s also known for supporting and funding Uber from its early days, so in many ways this is a natural continuation for him as well as for Camp.
It bears mention that Pishevar played a big part in assembling Blackjet’s star-studded group of tech and entertainment industry investors, which includes Camp, Marc Benioff, First Round Capital, SV Angel, Ashton Kutcher, Rick Marini, Naval Ravikant, Tim Ferriss, Matt Mullenweg, and Jay-Z’s Roc Nation, among many others.
Today Blackjet threw a big launch event in San Francisco’s Union Square to celebrate its new expansion and offer some free memberships and giveaways. TechCrunch TV was on hand to check it all out, and if you thought private jet travel was just a niche thing, seeing the long line of attendees at today’s event might make you think again — although, to be fair, some of those people might have just been queueing up to get a closer look at the Blackjet Sky Angels.
We pulled aside both Blackjet CEO and aviation industry vet Dean Rotchin and Pishevar for interviews while there. Watch the video embedded below to hear Rotchin discuss the perks of private jet travel, the technology that makes this system work, and who is in Blackjet’s target demographic. Later in the video you can also hear Pishevar talk about how his personal work with Blackjet is similar to what the new Sherpa venture will be focusing on, how Blackjet is bringing much-needed efficiency to the world of private jet travel, how many people can really afford to be a Blackjet customer, and what’s next for the company now that he’s steering its board.
Feature image of Shervin Pishar via Silicon Prairie News’ Big Omaha Backstage Pass.