BLADE Completes Series A Financing, Announces Kenneth Lerer as Chairman
Poised to become the leader in short distance aviation
- Financing led by Raine Ventures and David Zaslav
- Opens new terminal and lounge in Nantucket to service routes from Manhattan, Westchester and Boston
- Adds new routes between Manhattan and the New Jersey Shore
- Increases number of destinations and accessible aircraft fleet
21 Jul, 2016, 10:39 ET
NEW YORK, July 21, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- FLYBLADE, INC. ("BLADE"), the digitally powered short-distance aviation company, has completed its Series A Financing. Lead investors are Raine Ventures, the venture fund managed by the Raine Group, and David Zaslav, personally (CEO of Discovery Communications, Inc). Other investments held by The Raine Group include VICE Media, Margaritaville, Inc, and Brian Grazer and Ron Howard's Imagine Entertainment.
Concurrently with the closing of the financing, the company has appointed Kenneth Lerer as Chairman of its board of directors. Ken is a managing partner of Lerer, Hippeau Ventures as well as co-founder and former chairman of The Huffington Post.
"BLADE is now poised to become the leader in short distance aviation. It owns a unique and powerful technology platform and is building a terrific brand. That combination creates great expansion potential for the company, which we are now beginning to see with additional routes and operator partnerships," said Mr. Lerer
"Ken has had an amazing history building technology-driven companies and particularly building brand-centric companies like BLADE. He loves the company and I know he will work with Rob and his team to supercharge it in ways that no one else can as Chairman," said Mr. Zaslav.
On Memorial Day weekend, BLADE launched service between Nantucket, Boston and Hyannis adding to its pre-existing routes servicing the Cape between Nantucket, Manhattan, and Westchester.
BLADE kicked off this new route by partnering with Uber Boston to jointly offer flights to Nantucket that weekend under the moniker UberAIR powered by BLADE. Flights were available on both the Uber app as well as the BLADE app.
Simultaneously with the launch of its Massachusetts expansion, BLADE opened a standalone BLADE Lounge and Terminal located next to the General Aviation terminal at Nantucket Memorial Airport. This is BLADE's sixth passenger lounge. BLADE lounges are now in New York City, Miami, and Massachusetts.
Further expanding its New York area hub, BLADE has also begun service between Manhattan and the Jersey Shore. Destinations include Cape May, Spring Lake, Long Beach Island, Ocean City, and Margate.
Over the past year, BLADE has increased its serviced routes from three Hamptons destinations to 22 destinations in five states. Additionally, BLADE has increased the number of strategic aircraft operator relationships it has from one to twelve. This has grown BLADE's accessible fleet to over sixty aircraft including single engine, twin-engine and cabin class helicopters, land planes and seaplanes, as well as heavy jets used for seasonal BLADEone jet service between Manhattan and Miami.
The BLADE Bounce airport transfer product has enabled the company to be the largest arranger of helicopter flights between Manhattan and all area airports. The large network of BLADE affiliated operators enables users to book a Bounce helicopter and depart within 20 minutes of booking. Bounce is priced from $895 for your own six person helicopter. The 4–6 minute Bounce flight typically saves between one and two hours of driving time between Manhattan and most area airports.
BLADE was co-founded by CEO Rob Wiesenthal and Steve Martocci, founder of group messaging platform GroupMe, in 2014. Wiesenthal is the former CFO of Sony Corporation of America and, most recently, COO of Warner Music Group.
ABOUT THE RAINE GROUP
The Raine Group is a global merchant bank focused exclusively on technology, media and telecommunications. The firm was founded by industry veterans Joe Ravitch and Jeff Sine, in partnership with WME Entertainment, the leading talent agency, in 2009. The team includes 75+ professionals across five offices with deep sector-specific relationships and experience, making Raine a trusted advisor and financial partner of choice in its sectors of focus.
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