Sergey Petrossov’s Sky-High Ambitions

Private jet travel may today seem like a luxury that’s meant to be enjoyed only by the world’s one percent, but that’s a scenario that could soon change if JetSmarter CEO and founder Sergey Petrossov realizes the broader vision he has for his company. As an app that allows its users to book private jets to travel to destinations around the world, JetSmarter has been described by many as the Uber for the private jet market- a comparison that Petrossov claims to be pleased about, but he admits that he’s aiming for greater things than that. “Uber has achieved a lot of great success, and I think that they are a great company,” he says. “But what we are doing at JetSmarter is unique in its [own] way. So it’s great to be compared but I want to reach a point where it’s not being compared; it’s just JetSmarter.”

Petrossov does have a point- while Uber needs to be given credit for being a game-changer in the taxihailing business, the sheer scale, complexity and logistics involved in booking a private jet take what JetSmarter does into a different league altogether. Petrossov recalls how in 2009, he tried to book a private jet for himself and his friends, and then came face-to-face with a long, archaic process that involved a lot of paperwork, middlemen who were simply keen on making larger margins for themselves, and not a lot of transparency. It was thus in a bid to transform, or rather, “disrupt,” the traditional way business was done in the private jet industry that Petrossov and his colleagues developed JetSmarter. Judging by the way it has been received in the market (FYI, the app allows a flight to be booked in just about three minutes), JetSmarter certainly seems to have achieved its founding goals.

According to Petrossov, JetSmarter has been downloaded more than 300,000 times since its launch in March 2013, and while he wasn’t willing to share very many figures relating to the business, he did say that the average price of a chartered flight is about US$23,000, and that the app was used to book over 1,000 flights in 2014.