Launching an aerospace startup at Mach 2 with your hair on fire

There are few industries whose evolution includes dramatic steps backwards, but that’s exactly what happened in commercial aviation and its experiments in supersonic flight.

For 27 years, supersonic travel was a reality, creating a bridge between Europe and the US that led to a bright future for commercial flight. And then, suddenly, that future disappeared. Blake Scholl is determined to bring that future back.

In an interview for Flux I chatted with Blake, the founder and CEO of Denver-based Boom, a supersonic jet company. We got into how the Concorde business model was flawed, why it takes an outsider to re-ignite innovation in the industry, and how simulation software has greatly reduced the time and cost of plane design.

An excerpt of our conversation is published below.

AMLG: Today’s guest is Blake Scholl, founder of Boom — a supersonic civilian aircraft company based in Denver, Colorado. RRE is an investor and we’re a huge fan of Blake. He is a certified pilot and a repeat entrepreneur who previously founded the payments company Kima Labs, which was acquired by Groupon. He also built Amazon’s marketing automation stack. Welcome Blake. Let’s jump in — what is Boom exactly and where did the idea come from?

BS: The first 50 years of aviation— from the Wright brothers forward — we had incredible progress and safety and comfort and economics and speed. Then this weird thing happened in the 1960s and 70s where we stopped making progress in speed. The American Airlines special from New York to San Francisco back then was actually scheduled for an hour less than it is today. What technology have we had the capability and then actually gone backwards? We had…

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