By: Nathalie Barclay
In New York, we love our taxis and our Uber’s. They take us from where we are to where we want to be: maybe to a party, to a friend’s, or to work. Now imagine Uber for the skies.Sergey Petrossov’s company JetSmarter does just that. Launched in 2013, the JetSmarter app brings private jets and shuttles a step closer to the consumer, allowing members to book seats on an immediate and digital level. At 18, Petrossov was already co-founder of a tech company. By 22, he had a finance degree from University of Florida in one hand, and a CEO position in his second company in the other. “When I was 18, I realized I wanted to be a tech entrepreneur. I hated being in college, so while I studied finance I was also already involved with engineers. So maybe I’m not an engineer by trade, but I always got myself involved in product and innovation.”
After taking a private jet for the first time with a friend in July 2009, Petrossov recognized a niche in the industry. Working like a company from the 1980’s, ordering a jet was a complicated and long process involving multiple calls, emails and even faxing (Petrossov noting that he doesn’t even remember the last time he used a fax machine). An example of the digital age, he started thinking of ways to modernize the jet industry, simplifying the supply and demand for private flying through the creation of an app. For a subscription of $9,000, a JetSmarter user can get a free seat on a chartered flight right through the app. Here’s how it works: One man might be flying a private plane at a cost of $20,000. JetSmarter offers this man a discounted cost of $10,000 if he gives one or more free seats to JetSmarter users. “The existing flyer is saving a lot of money, and the new flyer has a low entry point for him to start experiencing it. This ecosystem will continue to grow because it works for both of them.”
Self-taught and with a keen eye for business and innovation, Petrossov wants to be involved in all aspects of the company, from finance to production, investment to innovation, using his intuition as his guiding force over previous experience. As a worldwide traveler, Petrossov ended the interview by telling us about his favorite spots to eat in New York and Miami: for Miami, he recommends Casa Tua, and for New York, his favorite restaurant is Marea.