Looking back on our 2019

Bonny Simi
Jan 15 · 5 min read

Friends,

2019 was another exciting year for JetBlue Technology Ventures (JTV). We welcomed several new team members, a second innovation program partner, and made 11 investments. We partnered with JetBlue Airways on three Innovation Sprints and began our 19th proof of concept to date between startups and our industry partners.

We launched a Summer Associates program as well as an inaugural Blockchain Travel Summit to explore use cases and impacts of the technology across travel (save the date of our 2020 summit — May 5!). We also had a lot of fun expanding our presence across the US and the UK at industry conferences and with our own curated gatherings.

Here’s a look back at our 2019 momentum. We’re thankful for all the people in our community and hope to see many of you out and about in 2020. Keep up to date with us on Twitter and LinkedIn or via the JTV newsletter.

Cheers,

Bonny


New Faces

We welcomed five new team members in 2019, growing our investment and operations efforts in New York and Silicon Valley:

We also hosted two Summer Associates to introduce more young professionals to corporate venture capital. Each shared thoughts on our blog about their experience — Adrianna Samangiego, from Columbia Business School, and Sloan Rudberg, from London Business School.

New Investments

We reviewed almost 2,000 new startups in 2019, met in person with 300+ new entrepreneurs, and grew our portfolio with the exciting additions of:

  • Miles — a loyalty and rewards app for all forms of travel and transportation. JTV Investment Principal Alex Kaufman wrote about why we invested.
  • Stride Travel — a metasearch platform for adventurous multi-day tours. JTV Managing Director of Operations and Partnerships Amy Burr explained why we’re keen on this industry.
  • Bizly — an all-in-one enterprise SaaS platform to help teams create impactful events. Alex Kaufman explained what excites us about Bizly.
  • Node — an AI-as-a-service solution to help companies surface insights from proprietary data.
A snapshot of the growing JTV portfolio.

We also made seven follow-on investments with existing portfolio companies — Lumo, Skyhour, FLYR, Unicoaero, Redeam, Shape Security and Joby Aviation. This brings JTV to a total of 25 initial investments and 18 follow-on investments to date in our almost four years.

Ecosystem Partnerships

In April, we announced a second partner in our international innovation program — Vantage Airport Group — to collaborate on deal flow and initiatives to improve the airport experience. Vantage joined Air New Zealand, our program launch partner from 2018, and a soon-to-be-announced third partner.

We helped facilitate six proof-of-concepts for Vantage and Air New Zealand last year, including with ClimaCell and Assaia. That’s in addition to the six new proof-of-concepts launched in 2019 with JetBlue Airways and JetBlue Travel Products, including with our portfolio companies Lumo and Unicoaero.

Innovation Programming

We were grateful to speak at 35+ travel and technology conferences last year as well as host a series of our own startup pitch events in Boston, London, New York, and Miami in partnership with Voyager HQ. We also organized an inaugural Blockchain Travel Summit in March in New York City with 30+ speakers and almost 200 attendees to deep dive into blockchain technology applications for travel and hospitality. Check out the highlight reel of the day and a three-part blog series detailing our learnings from the event.

Amy Burr welcoming attendees at our Blockchain Travel Summit.

In October, Vantage and JTV hosted a workshop with industry stakeholders to debate what’s in store for the next generation of airports. We explored how to integrate more comfort, charm, process, and cutting-edge technology into airports to improve the customer experience.

We also helped three JetBlue Airways teams — Tech Ops, Legal and Sustainability, and System Ops Control — understand and envision the next generation of their respective business units through our signature Innovation Sprints. These are 12-week collaborative programs to help the teams maintain a fresh outlook and understand what the future of their sector looks like by getting to know a select group of startups.

And for some weekend reading, if you missed it last fall, JTV Managing Director of Investments Raj Singh shared insights and tips for founders seeking funding from travel and hospitality investors and Amy Burr shared perspective on how startups can best build out and manage proof-of-concepts.

Portfolio Milestones

Lastly, here are some notable 2019 highlights and achievements from across our portfolio:


To learn more about JTV, please visit our website and sign up for our weekly newsletter here.

If you have a solution shaping the future of travel, we want to hear from you! Apply for funding here.

JTV Insights

The official blog of JetBlue Technology Ventures…

Bonny Simi

Written by

President, JetBlue Technology Ventures

JTV Insights

The official blog of JetBlue Technology Ventures, highlighting our latest thoughts on emerging technologies and travel innovation.

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