Shaan Bhanji and Konstantin Filatov are the co-founders of FlyEasy Corp, the most innovative and accurate empty leg and aircraft quoting software available in the aviation world. The company was incorporated in June 2014, not long after meeting each other through FounderDating. Both talented and in great jobs, they felt like something was missing. Here’s how they came together and moved from an idea that revolved around social media to one that can disrupt the aviation industry.
Tell us about yourselves.
Konstantin: I’m originally from Russia. I studied computer science and participated in many side projects like creating software for banks and medical institutions. I moved to Canada after graduating in 2008 where I then studied a year of Enterprise Management. My first job was a software developer with Web Impact and I later became a game developer for four years creating online and mobile games. My interest was never working for a company for 4 to 5 years but rather in creating something of my own.
Shaan: I graduated from University of Waterloo as a mechanical engineer with an option in management science. I was in a co-op program where I received the opportunity to work with several companies in 4 month terms doing software development. I also received a Bachelor of Science in biology. Having an interest in both healthcare and engineering, I became the project manager with UOT to allocate government funds to various healthcare facilities. Subsequently, I received my pilot’s license and applied to work in Bombardier Aerospace as a project manager. As crazy as I am, I also did a one-year MBA program at Richard Ivey School of Business.
What does FlyEasy Corp. do and what progress have you made?
Shaan: FlyEasy is all bootstrapped and currently courting with investors. Over thirty percent of an aircraft’s average lifespan is spent flying empty, which is referred to as “empty legs.” The solution that FlyEasy solves is how can we get the empty seats filled. With private aviation, there is no pre-established pricing due to landing airports, weather changes, number of seats, type of aircraft, etc. But FlyEasy makes this simple by providing software that generates the most accurate quotes.
We are gaining presence in Canada and in the United States. Our major Canadian operators are Chartright Air Group, Sky Service Business Aviation, and Private Air where we have already established business relationships. Moreover, there are 11 air operators that have signed up with us including Canada, Argentina, China, and Puerto Rico.
How did you come up with the idea?
Shaan: After working with NetJets, one of Bombarider’s biggest clients, I noticed flaws in the private aviation world. This led me to think of a solution, which eventually evolved to FlyEasy Corp.
Konstantin: We had been working on a different side project together and it was clear that wasn’t going to go anywhere. I became quite interested when Shaan told me about his idea for FlyEasy. And we just took off from there.
What was your “dating process”?
Konstaintin: I was at a FounderDating kickoff event when a friend of mine introduced me to Shaan. At the time, I had an idea around using social media to document local events and Shaan had a similar idea. We started talking about the idea that Shaan had, Sprynker, met up several times at night, only to realize that social media was not one of our expertise. We couldn’t see ourselves doing it for that long. But we knew we still wanted to work together and Shaan told me about the empty legs problem.
Shaan: I heard about FounderDating through Rob Mackenzie. He was the Vice President of the entrepreneur club during my time at Richard Ivey Business School. Since he was a member of FD, I joined too and later met Konstantin during a FD kickoff. And as Konstantin said, we knew little about social media and the idea of Sprynker was left behind. I threw out the idea to Konstantin, he loved it, and it took off from there.
Why did you decide to become an entrepreneur?
Konstantin: I’ve always had ideas about starting something of my own. You don’t just suddenly think about being an entrepreneur, it’s always in your mind.
Shaan: I agree. Being an entrepreneur gives me the range and ability to do whatever I want, whenever I want. Every problem is your problem and every success is your success. You get to go through solutions without going through levels of bureaucracy.
What advice would you give to entrepreneurs?
Shaan: Take risks. Be ready to wear different hats every 30 minutes.
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