Affordable Helicopter Rides, a New Kind of Scooter and More

Can’t afford to hire a helicopter? Florida company EvoLux Transportation is offering a service in Chicago called SkyShare, which aims to make helicopter rides more affordable. The company is working together with Vertiport Chicago, which opened in April on the Near West Side.

They calculate the cost of a flight. And then you can use SkyShare to look for other passengers who might want to share the flight with you—and the cost. You can ask a circle of your friends or put out a request for anyone who’s interested.

“It’s anywhere from $200 a seat all the way up to $1,200 a seat,” says EvoLux founder Ray Leavitt. “It just depends on where they’re going, what they’re doing and if it’s a one-way or a round trip.” For example, the EvoLux website currently lists a flight from Chicago to Milwaukee at 5:30 p.m. Jan. 12 with seats available for $719.

Helicopter operators, unlike commercial airlines, aren’t allowed to publish scheduled flights. “Operators would love to be able to sell by the seat, but technically they can’t,” Leavitt says. “With all of these helicopters sitting around, a lot of these operators are going out of business.” Leavitt hopes that EvoLux, which launched in 2011, will help operators fill those seats. Crain’s Chicago Business reported in April about the opening of Vertiport Chicago’s helicopter base.

Legal-lease is a new online platform that helps Chicago law firms and other professional services firms list their spare offices to solo practitioners or small firms. Tim Ryan, a commercial real estate broker specializing in tenant representation, says he founded Legal-lease after noticing how many firms had spare office space, often for extended periods of time.

Chicago startup Green Leaf Technology is launching a cloud processing and storage network for computers called HyperDrive. “It is distinct from services like iCloud and Google Drive because it allows you to manage and interact with all of your content in the cloud as if it was still stored locally on your device,” founder and CEO Benjamin Dul says. “You will be able to run applications such as Photoshop, iMovie, games, etc., on our processors.” A year of access to the company’s HyperDrive servers with 64 gigabytes of RAM and 50 terabytes of bandwidwth is available for a $48 pledge at a Kickstarter campaign that runs through Dec. 9. Dul says he expects HyperDrive to launch in the spring.

Chicago Scooter, an importer and distributor of two-wheel scooters founded in 2014, has introduced a new model called the Go. Manufactured for the Chicago company by a partner in China, the Go gets 100 miles per gallon and can reach a top speed of 30 mph, according to the company. It’s powered by a 49.6-cubic centimeter, 2.0-horsepower restricted forced-air engine. With a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $1,099, it’s sold at dealers including Scooterworks, 5410 N. Damen Ave.

Other new businesses we’ve spotted: Chicagoan Craighton Berman’s company Manual is running a Kickstarter campaign to fund the Manual Bar Blade—a stainless-steel bottle opener with a handle encased in leather. It’s made in Chicago, with leather by Horween that’s cut and hand-sewn by Ashland Leather, plus steel laser-cut by D&J Metalcraft. The bottle openers are available for a pledge of $40 during the campaign, which runs until Dec. 14. Manual has raised around $3,000 toward its $3,500 goal. . . .Kinslahger Brewing plans to open early next year at 6806 Roosevelt Road in Oak Park. The craft brewer (previously called Noble Kinsman Brewing) announced in October that it had received a federal brewer’s notice. . . .Chicagoan Shkumbin Berisha met his $5,000 goal on Kickstarter to make Zoe Dice, playing dice made of carbon fiber with an intricate design on four sides. A pair is available for a pledge of $15 at the campaign, which runs through 1:33 p.m. Dec. 4.

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