California’s Surf Air Acquires Dallas Startup Rise For An Undisclosed Sum
There are four major cities in Texas that are important to business travelers; Austin, Houston, Dallas and San Antonio. Energy companies, financial companies, insurance companies and even startups, based in Texas, often have meetings in any one of these four cities. If you’ve ever hard to fly between cities the experience can be very time consuming.
That’s why Nick Kennedy created Rise. The serial entrepreneur, with experience in aviation and healthcare was all too familiar with the hours it could take to fly from city to city. If you’re based on one of Texas’ four major cities you’re looking at a two hour experience from start to fiish regardless of what commercial airline you take. Between security screening, take off, landing and navigating through the airport, a business traveler’s time just slips away.
Kennedy started Rise as a Black Jet of sorts for business travelers in Texas. Travelers pay a deposit of $750 and then a monthly payment that can give them access to up to unlimited travel between the Texas cities. Travelers will park conveniently at general aviation and fly on a private jet, rather than a commercial airline. The entire experience gives business travelers back the one thing you can’t normally get back, time.
We’re dealing with the most valuable commodity in the world,” Kennedy told Xconomy soon after the company launched in 2015. “We are saving our members time in a safe and efficient manner.”
Although just two years old, Kennedy and Rise just announced that the company has been acquired by California based Surf Air, which offers a similar service. Kennedy and his staff are expected to stay with Surf Air. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. The deal wasn’t just about expanding Surf Air into the large Texas territory, Rise has proprietary technology that will be incorporated into the Surf Air platform.
“Surf Air will adopt some of Rise’s innovations, including a tool that allows members to create their own flights to destinations of their choosing, like a quick trip to Las Vegas for a bachelor party. In those cases, the company connects the customer with a plane and crowd-sources with members to fill up empty seats.” The Dallas News reported.
Rise had about 850 customers paying nearly $2000 per month. The combined company will have about 4,000 active members who average two to three flights per month. The company will have 445 flights per week across 18 airports in 14 cities in California and Texas.
Startups like Rise and Surf Air are working to make private travel both more affordable and more convenient.
“The costs have come down to a place where it’s affordable to a much broader swath of people than it ever has been.” Wade Eyerly, a co-founder of Surf Air, told the Dallas Morning News. Eyerly is no longer directly affiliated with the company, however he is sill a shareholder. He’s currently the Managing Director of Wheels Up a New York based startup that provides on demand membership charter service.