Tech Transformers

Fancy a private jet? There's an app for that

Uber-style private jets and yachts

There's pretty much a marketplace for anything nowadays. So, it was only a matter of time before the world of the super-rich was targeted with startups offering Uber-style services for private jets and yachts.

But while yachts and private planes might be in the realm of the 1 percent, companies in the space are promising their services will make hiring these luxury forms of transport cheaper and easier.

"If you think about the hotel industry before the internet, you would have to go through travel guides or Yellow Pages then call them up. Then came around and provided an aggregator for all the hotels," Livio Quintavalle, chief operating officer of Marinanow, told CNBC by phone ahead of the Web Summit tech conference in Dublin, where the company will be on show.

"So we said why don't we do the same thing for booking spaces for boats in marinas."

Marinanow is an Italian company founded in 2012 by three people who used to work in a marina. They saw the difficulty of booking a berth in a marina and launched this service to simplify it. The company is also branching out into offering yachts and other boats for hire.

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It works on a similar concept to where a marina or owner of a berth can post a vacant space on Marinanow and people are able to book it. Boat owners can put their water vehicle up for hire. Marinanow says there are 1,500 marinas in the Mediterranean Sea and it has about 1,300 on its service. Around 400 of those are affiliated, meaning Marinanow gets a commission from the booking. Quintavalle says the company is looking to expand that.

It's clearly an area with some demand as Marinanow is not alone in the space. Sailo and Boatbound are two peer-to-peer marketplace services for people to rent boats.

Uber for private jets?

And it's not just yachts and boats that have entered the so-called sharing economy. Stratajet allows people to get real-time pricing for private jets and order them via the website. Founded by an ex-Royal Air Force and British army pilot, the idea, similar to that of Marinanow, was to solve the difficult booking process for jets and open up the elitist world of private travel.

"Over the past five years, we've seen the travel industry all being online with real-time pricing. This one last piece of transport, which is kind of a private members club, is totally inaccessible," Jonathan Nicol, CEO and founder of Stratajet, told CNBC in an interview.

"If you want to find out how much a private jet will cost you, you have to go through this process of using telephones and talking to several people. Why don't we fix that problem?," he said.

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Nicol said there are 15 different fees behind booking a private jet and only one of those is the cost of the plane. Sorting all of those out can be difficult, he said.

The founder has spent the last few years getting private jet operators on board the service and launched the consumer facing operation three weeks ago. It is available in 44 countries with a U.S. launch in two weeks.

Private jet cheaper than normal plane?

Whilst both Marinanow and Stratajet might be seen as services for the super rich, their founders argue that it's opening up the once-closed exclusive travel methods and making it cheaper.

Stratajet says that it's able to offer cheaper flights as it can identify so-called empty legs or partial empty legs - where a jet will not be carrying any passengers but still has to fly to a place. Those are often cheaper and can be purchased for the price of "two or three business class tickets," according to Nicol.

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"So if you have four people travelling, a partial empty leg can make it cheaper than getting four business class tickets," Nicol said.

Stratajet and Marinanow both have initial venture capital backing and are looking to raise more, but admit that educating people about their services will be the challenge in industries that have been particularly insular.

"Private jets aren't for everybody. We know 5 percent of people travel business class. Regularly flying private jets, that will always be the preserve of the wealth, but every now and then with your mates to do something special, why not?," Nicol said.