After a year of quiet development, Stellar Labs of Palo Alto, Calif., will launch its air charter marketplace platform and app on November 16 at the NBAA Convention in Las Vegas. Stellar aims to bring air charter the same ease of online business-to-commerce (B2C) seen in the hotel and airline industries.
Several similar efforts have faltered since the rise and demise in 2009 of Virgin Charter, but company founder Paul Touw—who co-founded B2B platform Ariba, which was sold to SAP for $4.3 billion in 2012, and founded XOJet—told AIN that Stellar has identified and resolved all key issues. Technologically feasible or not, many industry veterans maintain that the complexity of the transactions and the sums involved deter charter customers from booking online. “I fundamentally disagree with that view,” Touw said, citing the growth in online auto sales and luxury home rentals, which initially aroused similar skepticism.
Stellar has raised about $10 million, $7 million of which came in September from venture capital firms. Startup costs are low, Touw said, because developers are foregoing large paychecks they would otherwise command in favor of equity.