Innovative air service builds entrepreneurial linkages

July 12, 2021

How important to the Reno-Tahoe entrepreneurial infrastructure is JSX air service between Reno and Oakland? Try this: I walked out the front door of my house in midtown Reno at 8:30 in the morning, drove over to the east side of Reno-Tahoe International Airport and strolled onto a JSX flight. At 10:30, just two hours later, I walked into a meeting in downtown Berkeley. And I hadn’t burned up any of my personal energy on the hassles of traditional air travel. No lines at TSA. No cattle-call boarding process. I was fresh and ready for a highly productive meeting. So, I’m thrilled that JSX will resume its service between Reno and Oakland on May 21. (The service had been suspended during the worst of the COVID crisis.)

Entrepreneurial success depends on excellent communication between founders and funders, and robust transportation alternatives are critical to good communication. In short, no one should underestimate the importance of this air service as an important building block in the creation of our entrepreneurial infrastructure in Northern Nevada.

The exceptionally creative entrepreneurs of our region are bubbling with ideas, business plans and proven concepts. In many cases, the cash that will bring these concepts into reality and the rounds of financing that will supercharge existing startups will come from investors in Silicon Valley. But the four-hour drive that separates Reno’s Startup Community from Sandhill Road in Palo Alto is a hurdle. An investor may think twice before devoting half of a weekday to the drive across the Sierra. Company founders don’t want to lose a half day that they could devote to productively fine-tuning products, visiting with customers and building employee teams.

Time, as you may have heard, is money. And nobody in the entrepreneurial world has time or money to squander.  Existing air service doesn’t help much. Three hours or more may be lost as an investor or entrepreneur clears airport security, hikes to a gate, waits for a flight, and takes yet another hike through a terminal after the plane lands. It’s wasteful as well as stressful.

The JSX service — please excuse me for sounding like a pitchman, but I love this service — removes the hassles of air travel while delivering the convenience. Its flights leave from Stellar Aviation at 485 South Rock Blvd., on the east side of the airport. Passengers can arrive just 20 minutes before departure at the private terminal, walk through an advanced thermal-screening system that detects elevated body temperature, take one of the 30 leather seats onboard and enjoy a complimentary cocktail, soft drink, or snack during the flight. Ticket prices starting at $99 one-way for mid-week travel are roughly comparable to prices on traditional airlines that link Reno to San Francisco.

Alex Wilcox, the CEO of JSX, understands the value of time to investors and entrepreneurs. “Time is the ultimate scarce commodity,” he tells us. “JSX is ready to welcome business travelers with an unbeatable, cost-effective product that prioritizes their No. 1 commodity: time.” In fact, he says the demand from Reno-Tahoe business travelers is among the most important factors driving the growth of JSX in this area. Along with the new Oakland service, JSX is providing its non-stop, semi-private service from Reno to Burbank, Orange County and Las Vegas.

The top executive of JSX tells us, too, that he understands the importance of good communication such as the links that his service builds between Bay Area investors and Reno-Tahoe entrepreneurs. Wilcox says, “As restrictions ease, I expect business travel to gain rapid momentum. Videoconferencing can’t replicate the importance of face-to-face meetings with colleagues new and old.”

The foundation for entrepreneurial development in the Reno-Tahoe region is being created from many sturdy elements. Convenient air service is among the most important, and I’m glad JSX is playing a key role in our future.

- Submitted by Doug Erwin, Senior VP, Entrepreneurial Development, EDAWN