Saudi Prince, Jay-Z Invest $105 Million in Russian Startup

PHOTO by NRK P3 / flickr.com
A Florida-based startup has raised $105 million from the rapper Jay-Z and a Saudi prince

British company KZ Capital and business aviation operator JetEdge have also put their money in JetSmarter, a startup that allows its users to book seats on private jets from a smart phone, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Sergei Petrosov, a Russian citizen, founded JetSmarter in 2012. The service buys out seats on private jets and provides users the opportunity to book them through a mobile app. The app also helps users order a private helicopter from the airport to their final destination.

Six thousand seven hundred people currently use the service. When one registers, they have to pay a one-time fee of $4,000, followed by an annual membership fee of $11,000.

The company itself estimates its value at $1.6 billion. In just four years, JetSmarter has attracted five rounds of investments totalling $157.3 million.

According to Petrosov, the company offers flights to about 50 destinations and it plans to develop a low-cost option. The startup wants to use the funds raised to develop markets in India, China and South America.

Last summer, Jay-Z, the aforementioned prince and executives from Goldman Sachs and Twitter invested $20 million in JetSmarter.