Following the recent announcement that Amy Burr has been named President of JetBlue Technology Ventures (JTV), JetBlue Airways’ venture capital subsidiary, FTE caught up with Burr to find out more about her priorities as she takes on the new role.
Burr has been with JetBlue since 2018 as JTV’s Managing Director of Operations and Partnerships, where she built an ecosystem of partners and deployment opportunities for the many technologies of JTV’s portfolio companies. She has been a leader in creating, sourcing, and implementing innovative technology in the travel space for the last 21 years. As an original founder of Virgin America in 2004, she worked in areas including strategy, corporate programme leadership and commercial and revenue development.
“I’ve had the opportunity to lead many different business units within commercial aviation,” she tells FTE. “I have learned so much over the past 21 years and am very well-positioned to understand where our industry needs improvement and where we can use emerging technology to improve existing pain points and strategies that need revision. That’s where the startup world can really help the existing infrastructure of the industry.”
She adds: “I’ve also had the opportunity to run a number of big teams, so I feel confident leading JTV in its next phase. We have such a great group of professionals and it’s a joy to lead them.”
Investments in short-term rentals, UAM, and sustainability
Naturally, the current focus for JetBlue and its venture capital subsidiary is on using innovation to drive recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. While JTV slowed down investments this past year in support of its parent company, Burr shares that the firm is ramping back up.
Indeed, so far in 2021 JTV has already added several new companies to its portfolio, most recently investing in Spain-based startup Transparent and California-based Lacuna Technologies.
Transparent aligns well with JetBlue’s interest in offering short-term rental options to its customers. The startup provides a platform which aggregates data on vacation rental market conditions including prices, occupancy, and competition to help property managers, real estate investors, online travel agencies, and tourism boards make informed decisions within the vacation rental space.
Burr explains: “One of the areas that’s really important for us is helping JetBlue reposition itself as a holistic travel company. JetBlue Travel Products was already looking into the short-term rental market before COVID-19, but the pandemic really highlighted how important this area is. This trend has completely transformed the hospitality market in recent years with Airbnb and several other major players in the industry. Transparent consolidates short-term rental data to help customers evaluate whether they’re offering the right products to customers. This same type of data utilisation has been a huge focus within the airline industry for a really long time, so it’s amazing that the short-term rental business has this product now”…