Higher interest rates isn’t always bad. For some businesses, it’s a tailwind.
Berlin-based Myne, a platform for fractional co-ownership of vacation properties in Europe, is expanding to include vacation homes in Sweden.
Myne will initially offer four properties in the Stockholm Archipelago and northern ski resorts. Sweden is the latest addition to its list of countries that include Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain and France.
Myne was founded in 2021 as a co-ownership platform that allows individuals to purchase shares in holiday properties, starting from a minimum of 100,000 euros split evenly between equity and debt.
How does it make money? It takes a cut on the initial transaction and charges management fees and commissions for other purchases on its platform.
Myne’s expansion comes just weeks after Florida-based fractional ownership platform Here.co ceased operations. Skift spoke to CEO Nikolaus Thomale to discuss the company’s strategy, the business of fractional ownership, and lessons learned from failed attempts by other companies.
Below are the edited excerpts from the conversation:
On Real Estate and Macroeconomic Challenges
“People look at our business and think that it’s somehow connected to real estate, which in Europe, and especially in Germany, is in trouble right now. There’s a lot of asset classes in real estate that have problems with higher interest rates. But this is actually a tailwind to our growth. We are seeing that even less people can afford their dream of owning a second home, even less people can actually afford owning their first home.”
“Fractional ownership is a way to enter that space of being able to invest into any type of real estate. And in our case, when we talk about fractional or co-ownership for vacation homes, for a lot of our co-owners and customers, it’s really their first home, not their second home. Although it’s a vacation home, in most cases, it’s their first property.”
On Potential Risk Factors For The Business
“The biggest red flag for Myne as a company is its growing pains. We’re growing 3x annually, and every company that grows that fast has growing pains and at some point stumbles over its own feet. And so we really need to make sure that we are growing with a certain level of humbleness and caution in regards to not making mistakes.”
“Another factor is consumer sentiment. People are taking more time to make a decision right now. And we have two wars in Europe. I don’t know if Trump wins the election, China attacks Taiwan: I have no clue what’s going to happen. But, that’s gonna definitely affect us.”
On Exercising Financial Discipline
“First, we have to make sure that we don’t grow at all costs. So we are still a very small team. And we haven’t just expanded our team for the sake of expanding. We haven’t gone global just for the sake of putting flags on the map. We have been cautiously growing, but it’s always about testing a market first, seeing whether that really makes sense. We’re happy about that, because we don’t have to let people go constantly.”
“You see a lot of companies that basically hire for some future growth or hire just because they had this incredible investor join them. And internationalizing just so they can put in another flag on a slide. That’s not our style.”
On Lessons From Failed Attempts at Fractional Ownership Model
“I can’t really say anything about Here.co, especially because I don’t really know the company. And I wouldn’t want to comment on the company I don’t know. But what I can say in general is, especially in the real estate space, there are a lot of companies that have problems with higher interest rates, where they buy a property, finance it, and put it on the balance sheet and then start selling shares. That’s gotten a lot of companies in trouble in the last 12-18 months.”
“The second effect is that a lot of companies, especially in the U.S. have been able to raise incredible sums of money, and I admire it. But it comes with a liability to spend it. So they have big teams, big payrolls, big marketing spends, and so on. But it takes time, especially in our industry, for this to materialize and they can succeed, because we’re still creating the category and a lot of education is required.”
“So in times where money is essentially free, and where venture capitalists are basically giving you money for free, and you can try to make it work and you can raise more and more on higher valuations in an inflated way. That’s fine. But in the moment when that bubble bursts, right, you’re back to real business.”