How Sergey Petrossov, JetSmarter’s Founder and CEO, is Revolutionizing Private Aviation
Sergey Petrossov’s solid work ethic and drive to succeed as an entrepreneur has been evident since high school when he founded his first business: a tire rim import/export company for luxury cars. Now, Petrossov is the founder and CEO of JetSmarter, an app-based mobile community made to help people to travel by private jet for a fraction of the cost and like meeting like-minded people. JetSmarter has reinvented private air travel by making it affordable and straightforward, doing away with what is considered an antiquated booking system in favor of a streamlined, technological alternative. By enabling guests to travel to over 170 countries worldwide, JetSmarter is often referred to as a “country club in the air.”
Before launching JetSmarter, Petrossov, who was named as one of Forbes’ 30-under-30 and one of South Florida’s Top Working Professionals, co-founded two IT projects: an online chat system for website customer service and a distance-learning platform for Russian-speaking educational institutions. He was also a board advisor to a private jet operator with the world’s largest on-demand Gulfstream charter fleet.
JetSmarter is established on the collaboration between technology and luxury by management and advisory teams with over 100 years of experience in technology, private air travel, and logistics. Much of that experience comes from team members’ time with NASA, Nokia, Microsoft, Mercedes Benz, BMW, and Uber. JetSmarter is headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and maintains offices in Zurich, Moscow, London, Riyadh, and Dubai.
The Idea for JetSmarter
Petrossov loves to fly and has traveled all over the world. One day in 2009, he and some of his friends were given the opportunity to fly on a private plane, but the only way to book that flight was by calling the company directly and talking to a dispatcher, who then sent them a physical invoice to sign and fax back to the company. Petrossov was shocked at how out-dated the entire booking processes seemed, and he figured that the whole experience could be streamlined via technology.
Intrigued and determined to find a way to make the private flight experience much more convenient, he started researching the industry and formulating solutions. During his research, he also discovered that about 70 percent of all private jets were empty and the majority of their flight hours were spent traveling to pick up the next passenger, not flying the passenger themselves. Noting that this was the only travel and transportation market that had not gone digital, Petrossov had his “A-ha!” moment. He realized that if he were to take the industry digital, not only could he revitalize it and make the process easier for everyone involved, but he could significantly cut the cost of private air travel. Since JetSmarter’s launch in 2013, the company has focused on making the booking process as easy as possible — JetSmarter is often compared with Uber for how easy it is to book — and democratizing private aviation by making it more affordable and accessible.
A Day in the Life
There is no such thing as a “typical” day for Petrossov. He spends some days speaking with stakeholders while other days are spent meeting clients’ demands. However, one constant is that he is always looking for ways to optimize the product through innovation, anticipating how his clients’ needs will evolve and how to address them quickly and effectively.
People’s lifestyles are continuously enhanced by technology, so Petrossov never stops thinking about how to make the most of all of the gadgets and devices that people have at their fingertips. He is always looking for ways to streamline processes and use technology to make something better and easier, which he has succeeded at doing with JetSmarter.
Strategies for Business Growth and Productivity
Business growth largely depends on a combination of innovation and marketing. Constant innovation hinges on always anticipating the client’s next move and tendencies and catering to them. If clients and customers aren’t happy, the product is doomed to fail, and being at the forefront of what people want and need allows Petrossov to keep his clients and customers happy, setting JetSmarter up for further success. After innovation, finding the best way to connect with the audience or the market is the surest way to success. Marketing has long been atop the list of priorities for successful companies, and that’s even truer now given the digital landscape JetSmarter exists in, which is full of advertising channels and opportunities to connect directly with the consumer base.
As an entrepreneur, Petrossov focuses heavily on two things: maintaining his professional network and building a trustworthy, relatable brand and story. Similar to advertising, if a company or executive are shown in a negative light, the product they are selling will likely suffer. However, if the person behind the product, and the product itself, has a relatable story and shows potential customers that it offers value, the likelihood of success is higher. Petrossov knows this, which is why he takes his time to build his professional relationships and the JetSmarter brand.
One of the most essential aspects that move a business forward is the errors that happen along the way. Trial and error drive progress and are at the heart of innovation. Without trial, there is no error, and without error, there is no improvement. More importantly, without trial and error, there is no innovation and, ultimately, no advancement or progress. Petrossov knows this and is always trying to think of ways to improve areas that are lacking in technology. Consumers are turned off by processes that make it difficult for them to accomplish their goals. Petrossov’s career as an entrepreneur has been finding those difficult processes and making them simple and more accessible.
Rather than just thinking of ways to improve a service digitally, he tries to focus on how he and his product can improve lives and lifestyles. With JetSmarter, he focuses on how to make air travel more convenient and accessible, but also on how to improve the lifestyles of his members — the biggest draw of JetSmarter for a lot of its members is being able to fly privately with other like-minded individuals who place a lot of importance on style and luxury. It is this small switch in outlook that the customer’s needs are paramount, that can make a big difference.
It is a misconception that privatization is for the wealthiest one percent. Private jet travel is more accessible than people think. There are approximately 22,000 private flights every single day in the United States, and one-third of them are empty. These airplanes are severely under-utilized by flying only 200 hours a year when they could be flying 1,200 hours. JetSmarter’s goal is not only to make it easier for people to fly in luxury. JetSmarter’s goal is also to utilize those passenger-free flight hours and fill them. The private aviation industry is highly inefficient, and Petrossov has built JetSmarter to bring efficiency and a younger customer-base in, ushering the industry into the 21st century.