PetAirways is the brainchild of Dan and Alysa Wiesel. In 2001 they found themselves traveling back and forth to Florida from California with their beloved Jack Russell Terrier Zoe in cargo. After a tense-filled trip, the couple realized there had to be a better way, and Pet Airways, the idea was born.
In 2009, after years of planning, PetAirways took to the skies using specially equipped leased aircraft, with a trained veterinary technician in each cabin to care for the “pawsengerstm”. Millions of pets are driven cross-country because their pet parents would not let them fly in cargo where any number of things can happen, including poor ventilation, extreme temperatures, the darkness that frightens the animals and can lead to mental trauma, freezing, and heat prostration. Many die.
For Pet Parents like the Wiesels, the stress and anxiety of not knowing where your pet is, whether it is on-board, how it is being treated, or how it is doing, can be overwhelming. PetAirways has one goal: the safe and comfortable transportation of their four-legged Pawsengerstm.
PetAirways Really Took Off And Was A Great Success!
Most airlines have restrictions on the type of animals they will transport. Some small pets fly in the main cabin under the seat or as companions. Statistics are unavailable for in-cabin pets though larger pets are generally relegated to the aircraft cargo compartment. The FAA allows only two pets per flight in the cabin.
Of course, some people skirt the rules but even airlines like Delta stopped transporting large dogs requiring crates taller than 24 inches, which effectively grounds large breeds like Labrador retrievers. American Airlines still ships large dogs, but much of their fleet cannot handle the larger crates and the same goes for United.
Over 9,000 pets were transported on the original PetAirways and the pet community raved about the service, providing proof of concept. PetAirways initially served five cities on a seed round of $500,000. $1M of tickets sold within three months of the inaugural flight, including 10,000 requests to cities not in the network. In nine months, the company served nine destinations and began working to double the network. After eighteen months, the company was six months away from break-even and had achieved a positive Gross Margin. Sales for the last three quarters were $2,361,000 (audited SEC verifiable numbers). During this time, the company raised an additional $3M from private investors.
In an effort to raise additional funds to take the company through breakeven, management took the company public through a reverse merger with the ticker symbol OTCBB:PAWS. The original company went public at the time of the great market crash of 2009. Unfortunately, it was unable to raise the funds needed to continue operations and was forced to close. The company shut down in Nov 2011.
After going through years of planning and working with the FAA to obtain certification to operate its own aircraft (the original company used leased aircraft and crews), the Company has resurrected the business model developed by the management team a few years ago with a few key changes that will cut overhead drastically, including ownership of its own fleet of aircraft, as opposed to using third party services.
During the period since operations were ceased, management has worked with the FAA for multiple years to obtain a new clean Air Carrier Certificate to enable PetAirways to fly its own aircraft as opposed to leasing. Flying company-owned aircraft as opposed to contracting flights to a third party will save 45% of the flight costs, thus lowering the barrier to profitability, and allowing more flexibility in scheduling, ticket prices, allowing the company to serve more cities across the US.
Three new companies have been formed: One Pet World, Inc. (the holding company), The New Pet Airways, Inc. (the revenue-generating company), and Blackhawk Aviation, LLC (the flight operations company). All three entities are debt-free. The founders own 100% of the three companies.
The Service Works Much Like A Human Airline
Pet owners drop off their pets at the company’s pet lounges located at the airport, where the pets are cared for and handled by trained personnel. Pets are then transported to their destination in the main cabin of one of the PetAirways own airplanes under the supervision of on-board trained pet attendants. From drop-off to delivery, pets are handled by people who are pet professionals trained by the company, not by cargo loaders.
A pet parent uses the website to input the flight date they want, and the proprietary reservations system creates a reservation for their pet. The system needs to know the pet’s name, breed, weight, height, health, and a few other items for the animal’s safety. At flight time the pet parent brings their pet to the conveniently located Pet Lounge at the airport and checks their pet in, presenting the standard health certificates and proof of vaccinations. At the destination, pets are unloaded and delivered to either the Pet Parent or an authorized person.
Company operations are supported by an executive team and advisory team with long years of experience in the airline industry.
The market for pet travel is very large, potentially 31M pet-flights, and there are no comparable competitors to our service. PetAirway has a revenue potential of $1B USD. Partnerships with major airlines, travel providers, pet-partners, and others in the industry to increase our outreach and success potential.
Funding Request: $5M, minimum investment $500,000. We will entertain any investment vehicle including convertible notes and SAFEs.
PetAirways Pitch Deck
Human Airlines don’t make money, why will you?
Human Airlines do make money otherwise there would be no airlines. PetAirways is a cargo airline. Cargo airlines make a lot of money, mainly because packages are not as finicky as people.
If you didn’t succeed last time, what makes you think you will this time?
Last time, the company was establishing the business model in the public’s eye and priced the tickets way too low. Towards the end, the company had a reservation system that could maximize revenues, management was much smarter about pricing, and the revenues shot up to over $500 per ticket. Labor costs were too high for the business the company was conducting. The company was still experimenting with how ground operations personnel should be employed. The company was establishing a reliable service for their customers and flew each week despite times of low occupancy. The greatest reason is that last time the company contracted the flights to a 3rd party. They charged the company full retail for the flights, a number that management now know was unsustainable.
What will be different this time?
The company now has a sophisticated proprietary reservations system. This system is on par with the features of Human Airlines so that the company can manipulate the pricing based on supply and demand, just as Human Airlines do. This will mean that the per-flight revenues will be maximized from day 1. The company will be monitoring occupancy very closely and changing the frequency of flights to fill all the space on the plane. The greatest change is that the company now can fly its own planes. Management estimates that there will be a savings of over 40% in operating costs compared to using a 3rd party to fly the planes.
What took you all this time to start up again?
The Founders had to unwind the old company, compensate investors, and obtain its own Air Carrier Certificate from the FAA – a process that took several years to accomplish and required obtaining an aircraft to pursue FAA certification.
Daniel Wiesel – Founder/CEO
Dan has more than 25 years of experience growing companies from the ground up in a variety of industries including REIT’s, real estate development, clothing manufacturing, and co-founding Interlink Recruiting and Consulting that advises start-up companies.
Alysa Binder – Founder/Chief Marketing Officer
Alysa works closely with top-tier venture capital firms providing early strategic marketing advice to their startups. She worked closely with the founders of eBay, Pierre, and Jeff, as they went from 1 employee to IPO. For Pet Airways, she drove the unbelievably successful marketing and PR campaign that drove millions of pet parents to our site.
Dr. Jack Torobin – Communications Advisor
Dr. Jack Torobin is CEO of COMsciences, Inc. a 30-year-old management consulting firm. Jack is a visionary who has handled marketing, communications, and strategic planning for many Fortune 500 corporations including Mazda, Microsoft, eBay, Hitachi, and Mitsubishi among others. He also served as interim CEO for several start-ups.
Charles Lynch – Corporate Advisor
Charles has been chairman and/or chief executive officer of a number of major corporations including DHL Airways, Inc., W.R. Grace & Co., Saga Corporation, Levelor Corporation, Mauna Loa Macadamia Nuts Corporation and has also served as a director of over 20 major public corporations.
David Crane – Technology Advisor
David has held multiple senior roles related to the technical infrastructure of companies. His technical knowledge, software design experience, customer support knowledge, and internet connectivity and security knowledge are broad and valuable in today’s environment.
Dr. Jeff Werber – Director of Pet Health
Dr. Jeff is a well-recognized TV personality, winning an Emmy Award for his TV shows, and is a sought-after lecturer amongst his peers. He has taped over 100 Pet Education Videos that play in over 4,000 veterinarian offices nationwide.
David Leadbetter – Revenue Management Advisor
David has had the responsibility for developing and implementing the strategy for 2 of the most important airlines in the industry, Frontier Airlines, and US Airways. Doc has led large teams of analysts and reservationists to mine historical data, analyze current configurations, determine passenger-purchasing patterns, and predict demand, to drive maximum revenues per flight.
Jahan Alamzad – Airline Operations Advisor
Jahan has held senior airline leadership positions for more than two decades. With companies such as The Boeing Company, Korean Air, Lufthansa Group, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, American Airlines, Qantas Airways, KLM, and others.
Larry Litowitz – Corporate Advisor
His vast experience includes over 35 years focusing on entrepreneurial and middle-market companies in a broad range of businesses. he has been the CFO of three public companies, he has participated in or led eleven IPO transactions. His clients include several venture-backed companies.