CHARLOTTE, N.C. – So who cares if NetJets didn’t choose to spend $100 million and create a couple of thousand jobs in North Carolina? After all, Charlotte-born Jetpool just may be a NetJets rival someday.
Well, economic development and a lot of other people are lamenting the fact NetJets chose to remain in Columbus, Ohio rather than to build a new home at Raleigh-Durham International.
But they and others should keep an eye on Jetpool, a startup whose founders someday believe they can offer private jet ownership, support and charter services that will offer an alterative to the Warren Buffett conglomerate.
“The first thing a lot of people ask us is ‘How do we compare to NetJets,’” said Jetpool founder and president Ryan Stone, who is a U.S. Navy veteran and an MBA graduate of UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School.
At the first Executives’ Edge forum put on by WRAL Local Tech Wire in Charlotte on Thursday, Stone told a captive audience that his business offers the same level of service but at lower rates.
“We manufacture time,” he added. And if there is one resource any executive, no matter how successful, lacks it’s time. He describes Jetpool as “a customized, turnkey aircraft management company.” And the three-year-old firm is already craving out a niche in the growing private jet fleet marketplace.
Stone, along with panelists Igor Jablokov, CEO at Yap, Mark Milam, chief operating officer at Incentric Solutions, and moderator Kirsten Weeks of Cisco, discussed how the intersection of technology, entrepreneurship and innovation is providing opportunities to solve the challenges execs face today.
Jetpool helps manufacture time with a blend of technology, service and price.
By building a fleet of so-called “very light jets” – small, private jets equipped with the latest avionics, fuel-efficient engines and advanced air frames – Jetpool transports clients across the U.S. and elsewhere without the hassle of airline and airport procedures, paperwork, delays and lost baggage. And they can do so at lower cost than NetJets.
So what’s the return on investment besides money?
Timer saved, he stressed again, and increased productivity.
Charlotte-based Nucor is Jetpool’s marquee client right now, Stone noted with pride. Jetpool provides service support as well as flight service to augment the steel giant’s own jet. But Stone has bigger, bigger plans.
The company is bootstrapped itself financially right now, but Stone has big plans for the future.
Who knows, someday a home-grown NetJets may be shuttling jet-setters and rainmakers around the world.