What was your inspiration behind SkyHi?
In my previous roles at other companies, I had to travel a lot, and many of those flights had a lot of empty seats. I started watching my travel behavior and those close to me, and noticed that more and more flights were booked within 30 days and were last minute flights.
The final catalyst was when I was at the airport in Berlin, about to fly back to New York. I struck up a conversation with a group of travelers who did not have tickets to any destination, but were waiting for a flight to fall under 50 Euro. They ended up getting flights to Lisbon. From that behavior and from what I was noticing on airlines, I knew it was worth investigating and pursuing the creation of a new product for airline travel.
Have you had any surprises or key learnings?
I was surprised that airlines are resistant to change. Though much of the data shows people are less loyal to airlines and book more last minute, airlines are resistant to changing their current offerings or long entrenched ways. We’ve been able to overcome that by showcasing to airlines the data about our product, customers, and the future trends of the industry.
This is your first time starting a company. Have you learned anything new about yourself through this process?
I’ve had to learn to be incredibly patient. Everything takes so much longer than expected. From legal reviews, contracts, partnership conversations, to technology integrations, everything takes so much time. As someone who really loves thinking about vision, strategy, and product design, sometimes the amount of time it takes to execute can be frustrating.
I’ve learned that patience is key to being happy and free while trying to attain lofty goals.
What’s been the biggest challenge when founding SkyHi?
My biggest personal challenge has been to not get caught up in comparing myself to other founders and startups. Every startup has its own victories and challenges. Sometimes, I get caught up thinking that someone else's progress is better than ours. In reality, we’re all progressing in the way that is meant for us.
Why did you decide to raise from the crowd?
We decided to raise on Republic after getting many requests from customers asking how they could invest, as well as requests from investors that didn’t quite fit the accreditation guidelines of our previous investment vehicles. We also believed that it would be a good marketing opportunity to spread the word about SkyHi.
What is your superpower?
I have a ton of energy. It allows me to balance a very demanding professional life and a very full personal life. On the flip side, if I don’t use all that energy, I get restless. So I run, dance, exercise, read, play music, and do new activities to expend all that energy.
What’s your kryptonite?
Welch’s Fruit Snacks. They remind me of my childhood, and I can’t help but get them at the movies.
Do you have any unusual routines or habits?
I'm not sure if it qualifies as unusual, but I do have a structured morning routine. I don’t check my phone for at least an hour after I wake up. I have my morning coffee, meditate at least 15 minutes, read for at least 15 minutes, do some journaling, and, most days, do some form of exercise — whether it’s running or going to the gym. All of that helps keep me grounded so I can tackle whatever the day is to bring.
Do you have any other hobbies or things you like to do? What do you geek out about?
I am an incredibly curious person, so I have amassed many hobbies over the years.
I’m a guitarist, singer/songwriter, percussionist, DJ, dancer, long distance runner, photographer, chef, baker, and writer, to name a few.
What are some of your favorite apps?
SkyHi: It is the fastest, simplest way to book a plane ticket.
Adobe Lightroom: As a photographer, this app is crucial to editing my photos. It’s great that I can do that right in their mobile app.
Complete Vocal Technique: This app was developed to teach a particular vocal method created by the Complete Vocal Institute in Copenhagen. It helps me continue to develop my voice with simple exercises.
Feedly: This is my go-to RSS reader so I can keep up to date on all the news that interests me.
Who is someone that has changed your life and why?
My friend Rob from New York changed how I view the world and what I care about. He had a much harder life than I have, growing up in the foster system in the projects in the Bronx. With all the struggles he had throughout his life, he had an incredible positivity and belief that at the end of the day, everything is always okay. That attitude has always been key for me as we’ve been building and growing SkyHi. Unfortunately, Rob died last year, but I still embody his positive attitude in whatever I do.
What’s your number one piece of advice to aspiring founders?
Building a company is a rewarding and challenging journey that requires a lot of resilience. Spend a lot of time cultivating that resilience. For me, that has been through meditation, exercise, reading, and forms of mindfulness. The more I spend time getting grounded and understanding myself, the more I believe that everything will be okay. That allows me to have a great deal of resilience when working through countless challenges that come up with the business.
What’s coming up soon that super excites you?
I’m really excited about all the advancements in electric and self-driving vehicles. Self-driving vehicles are going to make the roads safer for everyone, allow people to get time back, and will allow people to feel less fatigued. I hope that the next generation will not need to know how to drive.