The low-cost carrier becomes the first U.S. airline to set up a venture capital subsidiary in Silicon Valley. Fred Katayama reports.
JetBlue's relationship wtih Silicon Valley is going beyond the airport. It's setting up a venture capital subsidiary there - becoming the first U.S. airline to do so. The carrier says JetBlue Technology Ventures will invest in and develop startups in the travel and hospitality industry. It says it has set aside millions of dollars to fund ideas but wouldn't specify how much it intends to invest. JetBlue has a reputation as an early adopter of technology. It was one of the first airlines to offer satellite TV to passengers and most recently launched free WiFi service. JetBlue shares rising in early trading despite a broad market selloff. The low-cost carrier aims to tie up with universities, incubators, and VC firms inside and outside the Valley. It hopes to develop new ways to improve passenger and crewmember experiences, make the airline more efficient, and expand its brand.