Blade, The Taxi in the Sky Startup is Ready for Takeoff
According to Techcrunch, the company has begun offering short distance helicopter and private jet rides on the West Coast and in the New York area.
After completing a Series B funding round, in which the "Taxi in the sky" operator raised $38 million from top VC firms around the country, Blade is poised to make good on its promise to offer low-cost short-distance air travel to business elites, or anyone who can pony up $200 to $800 bucks per seat.
For now, the company is allowing a select group of business leaders in Silicone Valley and New York access to its mobile app. Blade's app. essentially allows users to, at a moment's notice, summon a Helicopter or Private Jet for short distance travel. In The Big Apple, the company offers top earners $800 helicopter rides from the city to the Hamptons.
According to Business Insider, Blade has worked with ride haling giant, Uber in the past to help Coachella attendees fly to and from the Van Nuys Airport to Palm Springs, offering helicopter rides for an average of $4000 per flight.
Although, many firms in the past have launched and ultimately failed to offer similar services, investors are optimistic about Blades future. For one, the company seems to focus on wealthier business clients who typically can easily afford the service and are very likely to be repeat users.
Just like in the Ride hailing space, Blade has nothing to fear but competition. Also, it is worth mentioning that the firm is Blade, backed by Lerer Hippeau, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt and others.
Que the Competition
There has been talk for years about Uber's plans to offer its own flying Taxi service called UberAIR. Any competition from Uber would be a major blow to Blade since the ride hailing outfit has been in the game for much longer with years of experience and a huge database of clients and impeccable logistical expertise/advantages.
Not to mention Uber's ability to raise billions of dollars once it goes public. The company, Uber, plans to start offering short-term shareable flights to commuters in 2023.
Founded by Silicone Valley veteran and former Google vice president and Udacity co-founder Sebastian Thrun, Kitty Hawk is developing an aircraft that can take off like a helicopter but fly like a plane for short-term city-based flights.
Similar groups like Volocopter, Lilium and Joby Aviation, have all raised boatloads of cash to to develop urban-ready flying machines to help those with deep pockets avoid traffic delays.