With the number of traffic jams on the ground, this might be an ideal time to take to the air. That’s why Blackbird has raised $10 million from New Enterprise Associates (NEA) — to make flying as “accessible, convenient, and affordable as driving.”
Blackbird CEO Rudd Davis said in a blog post that driving isn’t what it used to be, given congestion and packed parking lots.
“At BlackBird, we believe that we’ll all go farther without the opposition of distance. When flying is as accessible as driving, defying gravity becomes a reality,” he wrote.
To that end, the company is creating an aviation marketplace that can push transportation technology forward by connecting people, pilots, and planes.
Lead investor Jonathan Golden, currently at NEA and a veteran of Airbnb, will join Blackbird’s board alongside Francoise Brougher (of Pinterest, Square, and Google) and Andrew Swain (also Airbnb).
The company has added 15 new employees this year, including Brian Hsu (formerly of eBay and Lyft) as chief operating officer. Blackbird has also added hundreds of planes and pilots to the platform.
“We also now offer two ways to fly: joining a flight and creating one,” Davis said. “Guests can simply hop on a flight that’s already going, with seats starting as low as $50. For a more customized experience, BlackBird makes it easy to create a flight, giving you control to choose everything from the route, time, aircraft, and pilot.”
Pilots and aircraft owners complete the BlackBird platform. Commercial pilots now have a way to make money on their own schedule, offering flights without being forced to commit to a major airline.
The Aircraft Owners Program not only provides aircraft for passengers and pilots to ride in, it also helps owners make money when their plane would otherwise be parked. BlackBird arranges for these planes to be available for rent while they’re not in use, making airplane ownership more affordable.