Private jet charter operator XJC Jets heads for a hard landing
– In 2016 Chris Phillips was listed one of Britain’s 24 richest people under age 30
– Hari Ravichandran was at onetime named by Forbes as Number 19 on its list of America’s Most Powerful CEOs 40 and under
– Jet card and other claims and losses being analyzed
(Updated Dec. 5, at 9:31 pm) Chris Phillips, who in 2016, was named to a list of the 24 richest people in Britain under the age of 30, is seeing his XJC Jets business grounded, Private Jet Card Comparisons has learned exclusively.
He joins Hari Ravichandran, anointed one of America’s Most Powerful CEOs 40 and under by Forbes, on what appears to be an unsuccessful flight.
Court filings indicate both own more than 25%, but not more than 50% of the private jet charter company.
Documents had previously shown a company where Phillips is CEO, Just Develop It, as the controlling stockholder.
Administration firm appointed for XJC Jets
Business recovery firm Leonard Curtis has sent a Joint Administrators’ Notice of appointment to Companies House, although it has not yet been filed, a spokesperson said.
Xclusive Jets, described by private jet database provider Amstat as being an affiliated company, appears to have also stopped trading.
Amstat lists xclusivejets.com as the website for both entities.
The representative of Leonard Curtis said there are a number of related companies.
Xclusive had been selling on-demand charter and jet cards.
It now has a notice on its website stating, “Sorry, this website is unavailable at the moment. We apologise for any inconvenience. Please contact us by email if you have any questions.”
Britain’s Under 30 Rich List
According to The Sunday Times, Phillips, who at the time was 30 years old, “created and sold his first million-pound business Dot5Hosting when he was a teenager.”
It continued, “He has expanded his portfolio of investments into property and leisure through his company Just Develop It. He currently owns restaurants, a country club, and a nightclub, which is estimated to be worth £30 million net assets by the end of 2015.”
At the time his total net worth was estimated at $100 million.
On his Just Develop It website, Xclusive Jets is listed as one of his investments.
A profile says the company was founded in 2002, with Phillips taking a stake in 2016.
It quotes Shane Carruthers, who is listed as managing director of Xclusive Jets, as saying, “JDi has delivered everything we could have possibly asked for, not only have they funded our redevelopment and fleet expansion, they have also provided a full rebrand, accountancy help, and HR assistance.”
The blog post adds, “Following JDI’s £4.5mm investment in 2016 the team at Xclusive purchased their own fleet of three beautiful planes to chauffeur their clients around the world on.”
XJC Jets rise and fall
It claimed, “Xclusive Jets is fast becoming one of the country’s most popular private aviation services.”
In a September 2018 interview with Carruthers on the company website, he answers a question about his experience running a private aviation company as, “None!”
He then added, “The only thing I knew about private jets is that I liked to fly on them. As CEO I don’t need to know every detail. We have a product to sell, whether that product is pens, shoes or flights it doesn’t matter to me. I manage people, watch the financials and ultimately give the talented team I have around me everything they need to hit our targets and goals.”
In terms of growth, he said, “On day one we were working out of a small rented office at Southampton Airport with 10 employees and one aircraft. Today we operate 10 aircraft, 6 of which are owned by us with 40+ employees in a state of the art HQ. We have come along way and only just getting started.”
On the Just Develop It website, Phillips’ profile describes him as “a serial entrepreneur and highly respected businessman…building, scaling and selling companies since he was 16.”
It says, “As the CEO of Just Develop It, he has built a culture of excellence and relentlessly drives his team to progress on to the next big thing.”
It describes him as “an excellent manager” with “a unique skill for communicating and articulating his points with all levels of the company hierarchy.”
It lists Xclusive Jets as one of his current focus companies along with ScanGuard and Feather London.
A new American investor
A filing with Companies House on November 2nd of this year indicates Just Develop It directly or indirectly holds more than 25% but not more than 50% of the shares in XJC.
A filing from earlier this year indicates Ravichandran as having taken a similar interest.
According to the Boston Business Journal, Ravichandran is the former CEO of Burlington-based Endurance International Group Holdings Inc.
He was in the news in August 2018 after agreeing to pay “nearly $1.4 million to settle allegations that he misled investors by inflating the number of customers that subscribed to Endurance’s various online marketing software products.”
In 2015, he was listed as one of Massachusett’s top-paid tech executives with total compensation of $36 million.
Ravichandran is currently CEO and founder of Aura, a technology company that uses adaptive technology to manage cybersecurity needs.
Xclusive Jets private jet charter fleet
Amstat lists nine aircraft under Xclusive Jet Charter, including six registered to XJC, Ltd.
They include two Dassault Falcon 900Bs, a Cessna Citation II, two Citation Bravos, and a Beechcraft Hawker 850XP.
Leonard Curtis was appointed Joint Administrators of the Company on December 2. It said it will provide details by next week. It is not known how much is owed to creditors.
Jet card deposit losses unknown
Xclusive was previously marketing jet cards beginning at 25 hours. Based on its fleet, the value of customer deposits could range between $150,000 and $300,000 per account, if not more.
One U.K. industry source, who asked not to be named, said he knew of at least one person who may see his money lost.
Leonard Curtis said they are still reviewing accounts and declined to provide an estimate on possible claims.
Neither Xclusive Jets nor XJC Jets were in the Private Jet Card Comparisons database of over 55 providers. Inclusion requires completing an extensive profile detailing more than 65 data points and questions on company policies and procedures.
Carruthers was asked in the aforementioned interview, where he expected the company to be in five years. He told the in-house writer, “If we can do half of the things in my head we will be years ahead of our competition by then.”
He then dismissed the competition by adding, “The charter market hasn’t been this active since the 2008 recession, yet most of our competitors aren’t moving with the times. I don’t see the growth slowing down soon, and people should be looking at us seriously now. “
In his bio, Phillips quotes from all-time professional hockey superstar Wayne Gretzky’s famous saying, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take or in other words, you can’t succeed unless you try.”
XJC will apparently go down as a miss. The main question now to be answered is how much it cost customers and suppliers.