Private jet firm founded by ex-fighter pilot wins $8m investment

Octopus Ventures has a led an $8m investment in Stratajet, a private jet booking platform launched by a former fighter pilot, with contributions from existing investors Playfair Capital and JamJar Investments – the latter of which was created by the founders of Innocent Drinks.

Stratajet specialises in processing bookings for the private aviation sector, providing travellers who appreciate high-end transportation with real-time pricing. The $8m injection takes the company’s total investment to $14m.

Founder and CEO Jonny Nicol is a former fighter pilot and army major. Having gone on to become a computer scientist and commercial pilot, he noticed private aviation had an “archaic and fragmentary nature”.

In attempt to make the marketplace more accessible and enjoyable, Nicol launched Strataet in April 2016 after five years of development. The $8m fund will support the company’s investment in quoting tool Stratafleet, which is free to aircraft operators.

The London-headquartered firm already has the service live in 44 European countries, while plans to tap into the US are underway and will be supported with its San Francisco office. Nicol called the developments “extremely exciting”.

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“Following a successful launch in Europe last month we are seeing unprecedented numbers of flight quotes being generated across the platform, which proves how effective our system can be at giving a wider range of travellers access to the private jet industry,” he said.

“We are in the process of meeting operators across the US, all of whom are buying into the platform, meaning that we have very precise goals for how the funding will help grow the business.”

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Stratajet has already quoted two million flights since going live, which it claims to have done in a fraction of the time traditional services would take. Data processed is assembled from 2,109 airfields across the continent to calculate private flight costs in ten seconds – traditional brokers are said to take several hours getting the job done.

Malcolm Ferguson of Octopus Ventures, said: “Stratajet’s platform streamlines the private jet booking process, enabling consumers to attain real-time, bookable flight prices on private jets.

“Furthermore, their platform has the potential to increase efficiency for operators and save money for travellers, making private jet travel a realistic alternative to business class.”
Nicol added: “Unlike other online brokers, we can provide all customers with accurate prices without wasting the time of the operators who work with us. This in turn means we can break the perception that private jets are reserved for the rich and famous, and making the industry more accessible to the mainstream traveller.”

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Zen Terrelonge

Zen Terrelonge is the deputy editor of Real Business, specialising in media, innovation, technology and the digital sector. A media professional with eight years worth of experience he has worked for both startup and established publications.

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