BlackJet, an on-demand private-jet service that promised to do for air travel what Uber did for cars, is ceasing operations.
The writing has been on the wall for BlackJet for a while, despite the star-studded investor ensemble that first backed it.
Launched in 2012, BlackJet promised to be the “Uber for Jets” startup that was missing in the on-demand ecosystem, and it had the investor backing to support it.
Early Uber investor Shervin Pishevar served as chairman, and Uber cofounder Garrett Camp developed the idea alongside him. The duo attracted high-profile backers, which ranged from Ashton Kutcher and Jay Z’s Roc Nation to Marc Benioff and Tim Ferriss, according to Crunchbase.
An annual membership plan meant jet-setters would pay to get access to their network of private jets to book a flight. Along the way though, BlackJet repeatedly hit turbulence between massive layoffs and a service suspension in 2013.
The company abruptly shut down again on Thursday, according to Fortune’s Dan Primack.
In a letter published to BlackJet’s members, its CEO blamed inaccurate press coverage and a lack of capital as the reasons for its demise. Just two weeks earlier TechCrunch had reported that the startup had shut down alongside the death of Beacon, another private-plane startup. The story was later updated with a correction.
“In the last few days, there was some inaccurate bad press that stunted membership sales, a critical team member stepped down unexpectedly, near-term and longer term financing opportunities were delayed, and it became impossible to continue,” BlackJet CEO Dean Rotchin wrote.
BlackJet was not immediately available for comment.
Correction: Jay Z was not a personal investor in BlackJet. Roc Nation, an entertainment company Jay Z founded, was an investor in the company.