Cool company and great write up, Michael! With fuel as the main cost driver for this relatively small “airline,” I wonder the extent to which cost fluctuations are built into their operating model? Depending on their funding structure, I imagine that monthly service fees may not be able to adapt quickly enough to keep up with a rapid and/or sustained spike in oil prices. While all airlines face similar exposure to macro fluctuations, Surf Air’s size and operating model seem particularly susceptible.
Thanks for the highly entertaining read. What was Duplan like in class? Are you surprised by the outcome? I also wonder if experienced engineers think through potential problems with leadership before accepting their positions, or if they’re blinded by media attention, successful fundraising, and potential for equity. What’s Duplan up to these days?
Raj – I totally agree. Adoption outside of SoCal and other high concentration surf areas will be difficult. Without Beater sales priming isolated markets, few potential customers will be exposed to the brand. With that said, the company spreads some level of awareness through social media and surf websites. Several “channels” on Red Bull TV also feature sponsored Catch Surf athletes, such as Jamie O’Brien’s “Who is JOB?” mini series (definitely worth a watch).
Prof Iansiti – that can be arranged, fanny packs for all! And I agree – the Catch guys would be thrilled to do a case. Unfortunately, they weren’t willing to provide me with any financial statements, but I bet they would be amenable if asked in a formal capacity.
Apparently Prof Iansiti does too. I’ll see if I can get the section sponsored.
Really cool post, Raj. With a business model designed around exclusivity and luxury, I wonder if Ferrari has any interest in controlling the secondary market for their vehicles. Perhaps some sort of buy-back program could be used to keep older (but not yet vintage), rundown models off the streets. With that in mind, I wonder if the company has a strong opinion about short term rentals and/or leases.