Kenan-Flagler MBA Has Idea With Wings

09jetpoolExecutives and their private jets have become a cliche of late, but one UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School grad has an idea that is really taking off…despite the economic slump. Ryan Stone (MBA, Weekend ’04), is the co-founder and CEO of Jetpool, a veteran-owned jet management and shared ownership provider that offers convenient and (is it really possible?) affordable travel solutions to corporations and individuals.

In a UNC profile, Stone makes the case for private jets, which save time and money by allowing business professionals to pack more into their day. “A private jet can be a way to tighten the belt, if it is done properly,” Stone says. “You have to do the analysis. In many cases, the results would surprise people.”

By multitasking with business meetings at 20,000 feet, avoiding overnight stays and eliminating wasted time in airports from delays and protracted check-in times, executives can boost their efficiency through private aviation. According to Jetpool’s calculations, an executive can save up to a month of time per year by using a private jet versus commercial airlines.

Jetpool manages private aircraft for corporate owners, operating as an outsourced flight department. Just as a property manager manages a building that someone else owns, Jetpool takes care of everything connected with owning a private jet: helping to buy the plane, making sure the deal is structured properly for tax purposes, maintaining the aircraft and flying it ”“ a completely turnkey operation.

Stone came up with the idea for Jetpool in one of professor Ted Zoller’s entrepreneurship classes at UNC Kenan-Flagler. After graduation, he partnered with Eric Legvold, his best friend and a private jet pilot, and Paul Sameit, a Navy buddy and former military test pilot who has an MBA from UCLA Anderson.

This value proposition makes economic sense to their target market ”“ businesses with annual revenue of at least $20 million. “With everyone trying to get more business, your time is more valuable than ever,” says Stone. “The average business trip is taken by fewer than three people and under 500 miles. This jet hits that sweet spot of the average mission for most companies.”

(photo: UNC Kenan-Flagler)

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