“Travel is such big part of today’s world, yet most people hate the process of actually getting from A to B. My desire is to remove pain points and improve the process through innovation so the travel experience isn’t just the destination but includes the full journey. The opportunity to improve the quality of people’s lives is enormous.”
As President, Amy shapes the strategic venture investment direction of JetBlue and facilitates integration of successful startup programs into the airline’s overall corporate innovation initiatives. She has been with JBV since 2018 as the Managing Director of Operations and Partnerships, where she built an ecosystem of partners and deployment opportunities for the many technologies of JBV’s portfolio companies.
Amy caught the startup bug from joining Virgin America in 2004 as one of the original founders of the company. She worked in various roles over her tenure at VX in areas of strategy, corporate program leadership, commercial and revenue development, and technology areas including eCommerce, reservations systems and guest products. She ended her time with the company as the Virgin America leader of the integration of the merger with Alaska Airlines. Amy came to Virgin America after working at Continental Airlines in revenue management and corporate development. Amy earned her MBA from Moore School of Business at University of South Carolina and a BS in Applied Health Sciences from American University in Washington DC.
Favorite travel memory: “My husband and I visit St. Thomas often. On one of our first trips we took a ferry to St. John and hiked from the docks up into the hills, ending at an amazingly beautiful beach. The hike took us through some ruins, and to the top of the island with spectacular views. Arriving down at the beach and spending the afternoon relaxing in the gorgeous water after the tough hike just capped off one of my favorite days.”
JetBlue destination she’d like to visit next: Lima, Peru
Best practices in corporate venture capital
Introducing our Platform
Navigating after takeoff: What startups should know
Stride: Your metasearch for adventurous multi-day tours
Blockchain for travel? Here’s what we explored at our inaugural summit.
Reflecting on the launch of our international partnership program
Managing Director, Operations & Partnerships
“COVID-19 accelerated disruption in the travel and hospitality industries. Beyond needing to overcome short-term challenges like those related to health and safety, it placed a renewed focus on building sustainable travel businesses. I’m excited to help define the future of travel, working to diversify and accelerate revenue generation and integrate game-changing cost-saving solutions.”
As our Managing Director of Operations & Partnerships, Stephen’s role is to build an ecosystem of partners and deployment opportunities for the many technologies of JBV’s portfolio companies. He focuses on advancing innovation thinking and compelling value propositions throughout JetBlue and its partners. Stephen joined JBV from JetBlue where he spent time on the airline’s Strategic Planning team. He holds an MBA in entrepreneurial management from the Wharton School and also earned an MA from the University of Pennsylvania and a BA from the University of Michigan.
Favorite travel memory: “A few JetBlue colleagues and I developed our own version of ‘The Amazing Race.’ We picked a European destination out of a hat on Friday afternoon – the first team there won a small prize and immense bragging rights.”
JetBlue destination he’d like to visit next: Austin, Texas
Managing Director, Investments
“The writer William Gibson famously said, ‘the future is already here, it’s just not very evenly distributed,’ and those of us who work in venture capital enjoy the enormous privilege and responsibility of living in that future and helping spread it to the rest of the world.”
Steve Taub is the Managing Director of Investments at JetBlue Ventures (JBV). In this role, Steve is responsible for sourcing, evaluating, negotiating, structuring, and closing venture investments for JBV, as well as leading the investment team.
Steve most recently served as an Investment Partner at In-Q-Tel, a nonprofit venture fund that supports the U.S. government’s intelligence and national security agencies. Prior to that, he was a Senior Vice President at GE Capital and a founding member and Managing Director at GE Ventures, where he focused on energy and advanced manufacturing.
In his early career, Steve worked at the U.S. Department of Energy office of Environmental Management and office of New Production Reactors before moving to Cambridge Energy Research Associates, where he consulted for global energy technology and electric power companies.
Steve earned Master’s degrees in Technology and Policy and Mechanical Engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering at Columbia University.
Favorite travel memory: “My wife and I went to Sicily many years ago with our son who was still in preschool. Two memories that stand out from the trip are lunch at a tiny restaurant we stumbled across near a ski resort on the slopes of Mount Etna that had been destroyed by lava from an eruption the year before—still one of the best meals I’ve ever eaten—and our son playing soccer with some of the locals on the piazza in Taormina on the first night, where you could see the glowing lava flowing down the mountain in the distance. It was magical!”
JetBlue destination he’d like to visit next: Cancún, Mexico
“My dad and grandfather were pilots so I grew up around hangars and aviation; it inspired an interest in aerospace and travel at a really early age. It’s really exciting to dig into these passions from an investor perspective and to think about how future technologies and trends will fundamentally change the way people and goods move throughout society and around the world. As a former entrepreneur, it’s also extremely rewarding for me to be able to help other incredible founders.”
Jim Lockheed is an Investment Principal at JetBlue Ventures, where he focuses on investing in early-stage companies across commercial aviation and travel for our portfolio. Some of his interests include travel-related developments in areas like AI/ML, e-commerce, biometrics/identity, data science, mobility, process automation, predictive analytics, augmented reality, sustainable travel, and robotics.
Prior to working at JBV, Jim spent five years as an entrepreneur, including founding one of the first commercial drone services businesses in the Pacific Northwest. He also spent four years with a Boeing subsidiary called Insitu, where he operated surveillance drones and then managed operations for DoD programs. Jim is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and holds a MBA from the University of Oregon and a B.S. in Technical Management from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
Favorite travel memory: “Exploring Phuket and islands in Thailand with friends. Riding scooters and tuk tuks between towns and pristine beaches, meeting locals, eating amazing street food, visiting the big Buddha, feeding elephants and monkeys, petting tigers, swimming in crystal clear water, and celebrating New Years on Ko Phi Phi.”
JetBlue destination I’d like to visit next: Medellin, Colombia
“The world of travel is vast and begging for disruptive technologies. I am very excited to join a team making an impact and at the forefront of this movement.”
Ryan Chou is an Investment Principal with JetBlue Ventures (JBV) focused on sourcing a range of technologies from enterprise software platforms to mobility innovations. Prior to JBV, Ryan was a Director at Cryptic Labs and an Investment Manager at Fenox Venture Capital. He participated in the Matter.VC Accelerator program and worked at a few early-stage companies focused on NextGen surveillance technology and machine learning. Ryan received an MBA from Cornell and a B.S. from Arizona State University.
Favorite travel memory: “Scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef is by far my favorite travel moment. Being it was my first time scuba diving, I was limited by the number of times I could dive, but the experience was phenomenal. I was lucky enough to meet “Crush” and “Nemo” during my time there!”
JetBlue Destination he’d like to visit next: Lima, Peru.
“The nature of travel is changing, it’s in a period of transition through technologies, availability and capability. It’s changing the way we think of travel, look at travel and the way we use travel. I’m thrilled to be a part of the team helping to innovate and bring creative solutions to the travel and hospitality industry.”
In her role as Operations Principal, Jennifer is responsible for advancing innovative thinking and startup solutions in partnership with JetBlue and JetBlue Travel Products through JBV’s signature innovation programming. Jennifer has over twenty years experience in the airline industry, beginning her career at Continental Airlines before transitioning to JetBlue in 2005. Jennifer has a Bachelor’s degree in Management from the University of Houston.
Favorite travel memory: “My favorite travel memory was a trip to Israel. One of our first stops was spending the day at the Dead Sea, we also visited numerous historical sites in the holy city of Jerusalem and finally ended our trip in Tel Aviv where we enjoyed walking around the city and relaxed at the beach.”
JetBlue destination she’d like to visit next: Lima, Peru
Communications and Marketing Manager
“Having worked in aviation for several years, I am always interested to see what the future will hold for the travel and hospitality industries. JetBlue Ventures (JBV) is JetBlue Airways’ innovative solution to ensure that the company continues to evolve with the latest trends. My role on the communications team allows me to be at the forefront of this journey to tell compelling stories that best position JBV as a leader in corporate venture capital.”
As our Communications and Marketing Manager, Sarah helps to increase awareness and exposure of the ideas and people defining the future of travel. She handles the internal and external communications and storytelling for JetBlue Ventures (JBV) – including media relations, brand partnerships, and event engagement – and advises our portfolio companies on these efforts during key milestones. Prior to joining JBV, Sarah previously worked in communications for both JetBlue Airways and Southwest Airlines. She received her B.A. in Communications from Miami University.
Favorite travel memory: “I backpacked to Machu Picchu by way of the Salkantay Trek. The journey took about five days in total and was one of the most physically demanding experiences I’ve ever been through. The most rewarding moment was catching the first glimpse of Machu Picchu from an Incan historical site along the trail, and realizing just how far we’d come in the four days prior.”
JetBlue Destination she’d like to visit next: Liberia, Costa Rica
Sr. Analyst, Investments
“When I look out the window of an airplane, I feel humbled. Traveling can teach us a lot about ourselves, other people, and new cultures. More people than ever have the opportunity to experience travel, and I’m excited to play a small part in making the travel journey as seamless and enjoyable as possible for them.”
As a Sr. Investment Analyst, Ruchit supports early-stage companies across the commercial aviation, travel, and hospitality industries. Some of his interests include sustainable travel, AI/ML solutions, e-commerce, biometrics, and improving the customer and employee experience.
Prior to joining JBV, Ruchit worked on the Corporate Strategy and Innovation team at Southwest Airlines, and previously spent time at two different startups and a private equity firm. He holds a B.S. in Economics from the University of California at Los Angeles.
Favorite travel memory: “One of my top personal travel experiences was backpacking through the Himalayas with my best friends. We saw some of the most holy sites in Sikhism, Buddhism, and Hinduism. We even met the Dalai Lama! The natural beauty of the region and the hospitable locals made it an experience I’ll never forget.”
JetBlue destination he’d like to visit next: Medellín, Colombia
Sr. Analyst, Operations & Partnerships
“There is something about seeing innovation come to life that feels like magic. At JetBlue Ventures, our team is able to breathe new life into an industry that has gone through immense changes over the past century and make travel dreams a reality. I hope I never get over the feeling of excitement when seeing new technology make a difference in the customer journey.”
As the Sr. Analyst on our Operations & Partnerships team, Amy works alongside JetBlue and JetBlue Ventures’ (JBV) international partners to understand their complex operational requirements and drive new opportunities for innovation. She primarily focuses on early-stage startups making their way in commercial aviation, travel, sustainability, e-commerce, and hospitality.
Before JBV, Amy spent 3.5 years as a communications professional at JetBlue, working alongside leaders focused on internal and external technology communications. She has also previously held roles in law and government affairs, having previously worked on Capitol Hill, various legal teams, and political campaigns at the local, state, and national levels. Amy earned her B.A. in Public Policy and Political Science from Duke University.
Favorite travel memory: “A few years back I did a historical tour of Shanghai, Suzhou, and the surrounding areas of China. Not only did it look like the moving pictures of a beautiful dream, but I also got to learn so much about the area’s history and culture, which has been preserved for thousands of years. It gave me a chance to give me a rare look into a country my family once used to call home, which was incredibly moving and deeply personal.”
JetBlue destination she’d like to visit next: Vancouver, British Columbia
Specialist, Communications & Marketing
“There is so much opportunity for technology to completely change what travel will look like in the future. I’m very excited to be part of a team that can help to bring more innovative ideas into the industry!”
As the Communications & Marketing Specialist, Anna helps support JetBlue Ventures’ (JBV) internal and external communications through social media, newsletters, and blog posts – as well as providing marketing and communications support to JBV’s portfolio companies. Prior to JBV, Anna worked in digital and email marketing in higher education and for a startup. She graduated from the University of Washington, where she received her B.A. in Marketing and Finance.
Favorite travel memory: “I recently went to Barcelona for the first time, and we spent a day visiting the various the architectural works by Antoni Gaudi. As someone who has interest in architecture/art history and has had visiting the Sagrada Familia on their bucket list, it was an amazing experience!”
JetBlue destination she’d like to visit next: San Juan, Puerto Rico
“By making a commitment to preserving the Earth’s natural resources, we can create a lasting change in the environment. As a supporter of this environmental and social movement, the travel industry’s improvements in sustainability and protection continue to be meaningful to me.”
France is responsible for the day-to-day operations of managing the office. This includes facilitating communications between various departments, planning collaborative events, and organizing volunteer service projects with partners and affiliates. Prior to joining the company, she worked in various fields such as business operations, communications, and strategic marketing at Oracle Corporation, Entera, Chaincast Networks, and Davis Wick Consulting. France earned a B.S. in Economics from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.
Favorite travel memory: “I traveled to Australia and attended a recital in the renowned Sydney Opera House, climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and explored the beautiful beaches on the Gold Coast. The highlight of the trip was snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef, a rare beauty unable to be found anywhere else on Earth.”
JetBlue destination she’d like to visit next: Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
“You have to have a dream for a dream to come true.”
At the age of 14, Bonny Simi set dream goals to be a pilot, Olympian and TV commentator, and they all came true! Bonny is the founding force of JetBlue Ventures (JBV), and enjoys helping entrepreneurs achieve their dreams. She brings more than 25 years of experience in human resources, customer service, industrial engineering, operations and design thinking experience to her role. She joined JetBlue in 2003, and she served in operational and strategic roles across the airline, including most recently as the VP of Talent. Bonny is also an active JetBlue captain and three-time Olympian in the sport of luge. She was also a news reporter in San Francisco, and an Olympic TV commentator. She graduated from Stanford University with three degrees, including MS Management, MS Engineering and a BA in Communications.
Favorite travel memory: “I spent many years traveling around Europe as an athlete in the sport of luge. My favorite memory is walking through the Christmas market (Christkindlmarkt) in old town Innsbruck, with snow gently falling and the scent of roasted chestnuts in the air.”
JetBlue destination she’d like to visit next: Quito, Ecuador, to visit the Galapagos
Chief Canine Officer
As our Chief Canine Officer, Zoey helps shape the investment direction of JetBlue Ventures (JBV). She is a nine year old Lab mix owned by Amy Burr.
Favorite travel memory: “Summer trips to my parents’ lake house in Maine!”
JetBlue destination she’d like to visit next: Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts
As our barketing intern, Sadie supports the internal and external communications and storytelling for JetBlue Ventures. She is a nine year old Great Pyrenees mix owned by Sarah Mattina.
Favorite travel memory: “Backpacking in Desolation Wilderness with my mom!”
JetBlue destination she’d like to visit next: Los Angeles, California