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This Jared Leto backed flight startup is facing slowing staff and social trends

2 months ago by Jon Marino in Facts, News

Aviation startup Surf air grew itself into an international operator of private flights thanks to $90 million from backers like ff Venture Capital, NEA and - brace yourself - Jared Leto. 

But now, it's starting to look like My So-Called Netjets. 

Sliding Engagement

Surf Air's Twitter ($NYSE:TWTR) count appears to have peaked about a year ago, and has since declined slightly. The startup - which advertises private planes in California - has also seen Facebook ($NASDAQ:FB) Talking About Count - a measure of social engagement - dip from 2018 to 2019. 

Surf air was founded in 2011 and amassed more than $90 million in debt and equity investing from seed investors and large VCs. Today, it offers flight services in California to places including Los Angeles, San Francisco and Lake Tahoe - Surf air also advertises 15 minute waits for planes and iPhone app-based booking. And flying private isn't exactly a trip to the dentist - it's something one would be inclined to show off on social media. 

Shrinking Headcount?

Our data, gathered from Surf Air's LinkedIn ($NASDAQ:MSFT) page shows that fewer people are stating the company is their current place of employment. This could be due to the elimination of the company's European business late last year. The company's growth mode featured the acquisition of Texas aviation startup Rise and expansion into European cities including Cannes, France; Ibizia, Spain and London.

But, late last year, Surf Air shut down its European operations. More recently, it has pivioted to a new payment model, including a successful Indiegogo campaign that raised six figures from more than 100 backers. 

Thinknum contacted the company's public relations team to discuss the findings and will update this piece if we have comment. 

About the Data:

Thinknum tracks companies using information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

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Jon Marino

Jon Marino is Thinknum's finance editor, covering the impacts of alternative data on public companies and investors. Prior to joining Thinknum, Jon worked in the ...

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