Aviation marketplace BlackBird announced that it has received $10 million in a Series A investment funding round led by New Enterprise Associates (NEA).
“NEA has supported countless transformative companies that have changed the way we live. Lead investor Jonathan Golden, who has extensive marketplace domain expertise from his years at Airbnb, will join our Board of Directors alongside Francoise Brougher (of Pinterest, Square, and Google) and Andrew Swain (also Airbnb),” Rudd Davis, CEO and Founder, BlackBird, wrote in a blog post.
BlackBird matches passengers with private pilots who might be going from the same departure city to the same destination at the same time. Through that pricing structure, passengers can travel between 50 and 500 miles for less time and for about the cost of driving. And, in some cases, Davis claims that flying can, in fact, be cheaper than driving.
So far this year, the company has hired 15 new team members, including Brian Hsu as COO. Hsu formerly served as eBay’s GM of North America and, most recently, as the vice president of supply at Lyft.
In addition, BlackBird has added hundreds of planes and pilots to the platform, and debuted a new look. The new investment funding will be used to add more pilots and planes during the course of the year.
Davis added that passengers can now either join a flight for as low as $50 or create a new one. In addition, commercial pilots can earn money on their own schedule and without being forced to commit to a major airline. Pilots undergo a screening process so that they meet the BlackBird Gold Standard in certifications, experience, and health.
“By spreading the freedom of flight, we’re fostering the freedom to commute from the suburbs to the city. The freedom to get a taste of nature on the weekend, and replace hours behind the wheel with newly made memories,” wrote Davis.