The dream of private jets becoming more accessible to the rest of us (well, ok, SOME of the rest of us) has long been the goal of startups in the space which have tried to gnaw away at the old-fashioned business models. BlackJet has famously tried to become an almost Uber-like, on demand service. And there are others such as Netjets. Now a new-ish entrant thinks it has come up with a very persuasive model, and has raised cash to go for broke with the idea.
Victor — the on-demand private jet charter technology platform which is just over 3 years old — has secured $5M in funding from investors. This second round joins a previously announced $8M round, taking the company to a total of $13M invested from its own clientele. The funds will be used to acquire more customers and build out the tech platform, which, by its nature, is quite complex. It also announced an intention to raise institutional funding later this year.
In addition, Victor has acquired YoungJets, the Santa Barbara-based private jet charter services provider often used by rock bands on tour, as well as corporate and private equity clientele. YoungJets founder and CEO David Young will now become Victor’s senior vice president of the U.S. market.
But it’s Victor’s business model which is making heads turn in the private jet world.
Victor has built out a platform which the actual owners of private jet fleets can use to take bookings. Bizarrely, until now there has been nothing like the booking platforms used by mainstream airlines, which could also be used in the private/charter world which is dominated by private brokers.
Now, this on-demand private jet charter service offers complete transparency in terms of pricing. This threatens the old model whereby brokers could skim off commissions both from the fleet owners, and from the customers who (literally) had to ring them up to book a jet.
It’s the only service to disclose transaction fees, operator and aircraft details and there are no hidden costs, surcharges or membership fees. Thus, it’s gradually creating more competition, and making it easier for people to book. The company has recently launched an iOS app allowing member to access the full end-to-end charter booking and flight management service. Perhaps because of this ease of use, it also claims to have experienced a 300% year-on-year growth for the past 3 years.
Victor can access 7,000+ aircraft reaching 40,000 airports worldwide, and provides instant price estimates by aircraft type and category. These are followed by a selection of full charter quotes so that members can choose the aircraft, operators and prices.
Victor may not end up being exactly the ‘Uber for private jets’, but if it executes its plan it’s certainly going to make the private world far more accessible and easier to use for its regular customers. You don’t actually need to be Uber at that point.