Flugy charters private planes to destinations voted on by its
members (who each pay a $25 membership fee). Those that want to take the trip
pay their share of the charter plus an 18% commission.
Once the destination is set, a local coordinator helps to
arrange visa processing, mobile phone service and tours and activities in the destination.
Members can also use the site’s chat rooms to discuss accommodations, seating
and pre-trip meetups.
Describe both the business and technology aspects of your
Flugy is an app and social network to crowdsource direct
charter flights to bucket-list destinations that are long and expensive to
reach on commercial flights. The app is both a social network with chat rooms
and sharing capabilities, so travel becomes a social experience with the
ability to create seating zones and plan group activities as well as
accommodation sharing. It lets you align schedules and plans. It’s also an
e-commerce platform for charter flights as well as other travel offerings.
What inspired you to create this company?
If you want to visit exotic destinations, the flights
generally are very long with multiple stopovers, and expensive unless you plan
far in advance.
Give us your SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities,
Threats) analysis of the company.
The strength is that it’s a fresh, revolutionary idea that
appeals to everyone. Who doesn’t want to get to an exotic destination faster
and for less money? The weakness is that it requires a significant critical
mass to get off the ground. The opportunities are almost limitless because of
the universal appeal and potential for unlimited partnerships.
We don’t have
threats from traditional competition as nobody has tried this before. The
threat is simply that if we don’t get enough critical mass out of the gate it
will fizzle out.
What are the travel pain points you are trying to alleviate
from both the customer and the industry perspective?
Faster, cheaper flights provisioned on-demand. It’s better
for the airlines too because they can expand without taking on risks - the
plane is only reserved when it’s full, and so the income is guaranteed.
So you've got the product, now how will you get lots of
We’re counting on heavy promotion through social media. On
our initial flights we’re hiring the most popular photographers, fitness gurus
and entertainers from each city to travel on the plane. We pay their expenses
and standard daily rate for their services. And we’re offering a $500 cash
reward for everyone who gets one of these popular personalities to join. Plus
we’re offering free membership and $100 flight credit for influencers who are
willing to fill out a questionnaire.
And we’ve tried to “gamify” the signup
process so you everyone can see how their cities compare to others, and the
influencers can see how many of their followers are signing up.
Tell us what process you've gone through to establish a
genuine need for your company and the size of the addressable market.
It’s one of those needs everyone has but didn’t know there
was a solution for. Nobody likes long, expensive flights. People just don’t
know there is another way to do this.
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How and when will you make money?
If we operate flights we will be profitable in our second
month. The first month with these launch trips to Tikal and Volos we are
spending a lot upfront to attract users.
What are the backgrounds and previous achievements of the
founding team, and why do you have what it takes to succeed with this business?
Aaron Bergen, CEO: My background is developing leading-edge
software platforms. I built one of the first mainstream home automation
platforms, which around 2011 to 2013 was the most popular and the only low-cost
solution; before that robotics systems and media servers. Everybody else on the
team, however, has a background in travel.
Athan Slotkin, COO: Managed several travel programs
including American Express Centurian and Platinum.
Melchior Blaese, business development: Founder of Pergenz,
which focuses on community building and services a lot of customers in the
What's been the most difficult part of founding the business
Refining the message. At first the message about aligning
schedules was convoluted and people didn’t understand it. We went through
several rounds of the messaging and video and did testing with paid beta
testers, who are travel influencers we hired for their feedback.
Generally, travel startups face a fairly tough time making
an impact - so why are you going to be one of lucky ones?
Our idea is unique and has a universal appeal. Whether or
not you like the social travel aspect of Flugy, everybody loves getting to
their destination faster and for less money.
What question might we have missed......?
One concern people have is trust. If they pay a new startup
for a flight, how they know they will get the flight? When our members pay,
their money does not go to Flugy. We comply with U.S. Department of
Transportation part 380 rules for public charter. All money goes to an insured
escrow account, and the funds can only be released directly to the airline by
the escrow agent, which is the world’s largest and handles 80% of all charter
bookings. Only after the flight does Flugy get our commission. And if the
flight doesn’t operate, the money is refunded.
PhocusWire Startup Stage
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