As the cofounder and CEO of on-demand helicopter startup Blade, Rob Wiesenthal is a pretty busy guy.
A former Sony and Warner Music Group exec, Wiesenthal comes from a long line of entertainment industry professionals and has a sincere appreciation for aviation and its heritage. With Blade, he's built a system where well-heeled travelers can book helicopter and seaplane rides from New York City to the Hamptons, Nantucket, Jersey Shore, and Miami simply by using an app. There's also the option to take Blade Bounce, a quick, five-minute ride to any of the New York area airports.
We recently caught up with Wiesenthal, 50, at one of his favorite hangout spots in New York City, and learned a ton about Blade, his early business inspirations, and what it takes to run a company around the clock.
We met for a late lunch at David Burke Kitchen, located in the James Hotel in Lower Manhattan.
The restaurant is sleek and full of stylish people. They look like they could be Blade customers.
"Our flyer is spending a not insignificant amount of money to turn a 3-hour drive into a 30 minute flight. So they're buying time — something you can't typically buy, and more so, they're buying the Blade experience," he said. "So you end up with a rather … unique individual that holds [Blade] to a customer service standard that is extremely high."
Tickets range from $494 to $695 for a trip from Manhattan to the Hamptons, Blade's most popular destination. A one-way ticket on Blade One, the company's private jet service to Miami, costs about $2,200.
Socialites, celebrities, and elite businesspeople are catching on — Laura Prepon, Jon Hamm, and Olivia Palermo are just a few of the big names that have been spotted in one of Blade's three luxury lounges in Manhattan. The company's investors include Kenneth Lerer, Discovery Communications' David Zaslav, Google's Eric Schmidt, IAC's Barry Diller, and iHeart Media's Bob Pittman.
It's a nice day, so we head upstairs to the restaurant's Treehouse Bar.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider