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Interview with Bertrand JOAB-CORNU (S2016), co-founder of WINGLY

19 June 2024 Article
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  • Bertrand Joab-Cornu, a graduate of the Engineering program at ISAE-SUPAERO, founded Wingly a year before graduating in 2015.
  • This start-up, which brings aviation into the collaborative economy, quickly became the European leader in flight sharing.
  • 2024 is a banner year for Wingly, which is announcing a €3.5 million capital increase via a fundraising round and opening its capital to the public.
Emeric de Waziers (g.) et Bertrand Joab-Cornu (d.), les cofondateurs de Wingly, devant un avion électrique Velis Electro

Emeric de Waziers (l.) and Bertrand Joab-Cornu (r.), co-founders of Wingly, in front of a Velis Electro electric plane.

You co-founded the start-up Wingly while still a student at ISAE-SUPAERO. Tell us about this entrepreneurial adventure...

I graduated from the ISAE-SUPAERO engineering program in 2016. Passionate about aeronautics and entrepreneurship, I took a double degree with École Polytechnique in Innovation Technology and Entrepreneurship. At the time, the collaborative economy was exploding with start-ups like BlaBlaCar and Airbnb. On the benches of ISAE-SUPAERO, I already had the idea of a co-piloting platform based on the same principle. At X I met my future partner, Emeric de Waziers, who had also had the idea on his own, and we launched Wingly in 2015. There was a niche to be filled, and it worked very quickly, very well!

Wingly is 10 years old and this year marks an important stage in its development. Can you tell us more about it?

We've successfully weathered the crises of recent years, and the company is doing well. We currently have 25,000 private pilots registered on the platform, and over 120,000 passengers in flight. We have also just passed the 40 million euro mark in sales volume. This year, we opened up to low-carbon aviation thanks to partnerships with seven flying clubs owning an electric aircraft. We also closed a €3.5 million financing round with the aim of achieving profitability by 2025 and embarking on new projects. We also opened up our capital through a crowdfunding campaign via the Crowdcube platform, in order to involve our community.

What's the outlook for the medium term?

At present, use of the platform is focused on leisure flights: 90% of our passengers take local trips, and the remaining 10% take day trips. But Wingly has a real role to play in regional mobility, when there is no alternative to the car, especially as companies developing low-carbon aviation are positioning themselves in this niche. We also hope to launch in other countries, notably the United States, if regulations change.

What advice would you give to students at ISAE-SUPAERO who would like to try their hand at entrepreneurship during their studies, as you have done?

The first piece of advice I'd give is to trust yourself and your idea! And then go out and test it, without wasting too much time working out the perfect business plan or finished prototype.

Wingly, the BlaBlaCar of the skies

Europe's leading flight-sharing platform, Wingly offers shared-cost flights between a private pilot and one or more passengers. 450,000 members are registered on this digital platform. The Paris-based company employs 20 people and offers its services in several European countries, including Germany, England, Switzerland, Austria and France.

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