LandJet is reinventing the way we see road travelNovember 4, 2019 | VENTURE SCHOOL
LandJet (Bettendorf, IA) is reinventing the way we see road travel with the help of Venture School’s customer discovery and real-world experimentation.
The company is a vehicle service equipped with WiFi and a work station, helping business executives, entrepreneurs, and even families, stay productive while traveling comfortably. LandJet is turning travel time into productive, billable hours. After Steve Thornburg and Mark Ross participated in the Spring Quad Cities Venture School Cohort, they had the idea for LandJet. Nick Thul joined the team shortly after Venture School.
Venture School is a premier statewide innovative training program focused on real-world experimentation, customer discovery and Lean LaunchPad methodologies. While going through the customer discovery process, they came across a business who made luxury vehicles and decided to purchase the company and add their own twist. Now, you can book a LandJet vehicle to pick you up and not have to interrupt your work. Based out of Bettendorf, Iowa, LandJet is in the process of expanding to other major cities throughout the Midwest.
Below, Thul and Thornburg sat down for a Q&A session to tell us more about their company.
What is LandJet?
LandJet is a driving service that helps professionals and businesses stay productive through a convenient and comfortable workspace while they travel. The company creates an environment in which riders can be productive while on the road. Time is valuable, and we want to make sure it’s not wasted. Some typical routes include airport travel, meetings across town, conferences, board meetings, or even leisure trips. LandJet is currently operating in the Quad Cities and Des Moines, with plans to launch in St. Louis and Minneapolis shortly.
What was something you took away from Venture School?
We got to spend a lot of time formulating our ideas for LandJet and validating them while in the program. In Venture School, you get to talk to a wide-spread of people and run marketing plans past them to get their insight on whether it will be effective and reach an audience. We gained valuable information from this, which helped us focus on what our business is really about—time is valuable and shouldn’t be wasted. Ross took another one of his companies (ALM, a positioning company) through Venture School last year and enjoyed the program so we knew it would be beneficial to do the same for LandJet.
What are some milestones LandJet has accomplished?
We started with one customized vehicle and now currently have five operating, with five additional vehicles planned to come into production. We launched our business in December 2018 in the Quad Cities. Having said that, we feel well established there so it felt natural to launch into our next market, Des Moines. We currently have eight part-time drivers and four full-time employees in the company, and we also plan to expand to St. Louis and Minneapolis within the next few months. Since LandJet is growing more popular, we created a mobile app for LandJet and launched our new website, allowing people to easily make reservations online.
What do the next 12 months look like for LandJet?
Bigger. Even though LandJet has started as a Midwest-focused company, we are still looking to expand to the west and east coasts and southern markets. Since LandJet will be expanding to different areas, we are also exploring a possible franchise component to LandJet. This is because over the past year, our services in locations such as the Quad Cities have been moving along fairly quick. We are confident our services will do equally well in Des Moines. If we can prove that a driving service like LandJet is working here in Iowa, surely we can bring this to basically any major city. But, for right now, we’re focused on our local corporate locations in the Quad Cities and now Des Moines.
What have you learned about being an entrepreneur?
My advice would be to go through Venture School if you have any sort of business idea. I think the program is very much so worth the time because I learned a lot about marketing and how to set goals for a company. Venture School gave me knowledge and first-hand experience unlike any other. While in Venture School, I also got to learn about other companies in the program as well; what’s working for them, what might not be, and so forth. This helped us learn about what is going on in the entrepreneurial ecosystem around us. For real-world experience, Venture School is worth your time.
In your opinion, what makes Iowa a great place to build a business?
Iowa is a great place to build a business because of how it embraces entrepreneurship. I think Des Moines is one of the top places for entrepreneurs to build their life and their business in the country. I also believe that last year Iowa was rated as the number one place to live in the entire country. Iowa is always going to be the base for this company and we’re proud to have started LandJet here.