DURHAM – The technology-enabled vacation home co-ownership platform Plum landed an investment of $175,000 following the Durham-based firm competing during the Entrepreneur Magazine’s Elevator Pitch contest.

According to company founder and CEO Matt Williamson, who also co-founded and led Windsor Circle, which was acquired in 2018, Plum competed against a few dozen other startup firms ranging from solar companies, consumer goods companies, and technology-based startups.

And following the company’s pitch, Plum landed a $175,000 investment from Netflix’s first CEO, Marc Randolph, Williamson told WRAL TechWire.

“The ask was $175,000 specifically designed around testing the real estate side of the thesis,” Williamson said.  “But the publicity and the credibility are just as valuable, for sure.”

Plum’s pitch can be watched on the company’s website.

Triangle serial entrepreneur launches Plum, raising $1.5M, to help groups buy vacation homes

Ramping up co-ownership

Plum provides a technology-enabled platform that aims to assist those interested in buying vacation homes or second homes with other people and a toolkit to manage the property once the co-ownership group makes the purchase.

The startup announced it had raised a seed funding round of $1.5 million earlier this year, including an investment from the Triangle Tweener Fund, led by Triangle serial entrepreneur and investor Scot Wingo.

“The idea is to help people enjoy the benefits, tangible and intangible, of owning a vacation home,” Wingo told WRAL TechWire earlier this year about the company.  “Before the concept of Plum and co-ownership, you would have to wait until you could afford to buy a house outright and with most vacation homes, by definition, you don’t use them 100% of the time.”

That’s a mismatch.  You own 100% but you use the property for far less than 100% of the time.

“Co-ownership solves that,” said Wingo.  “But as you can imagine, it gets complicated.”

Williamson told WRAL TechWire that some 60 million Americans wish to own a second home or vacation home.  That desire persists, even during an uncertain economic environment, said Williamson.

“People’s aspirations for owning vacation property will always be high,” said Williamson.  “Of course we’re watching the economy but one of those things about our model is that if there was ever a time to fractionalize, it is when interest rates are high and costs are still up.”

Ownership costs have risen in recent months, following what might best be called a vacation-home boom during 2020 and 2021, due to rising mortgage interest rates.

But Williamson remains bullish on the company’s potential, noting that there’s “never been a better time” for co-ownership or fractional ownership of assets.

And, said Williamson, the company will now deploy the new funding following the pitch contest in order to build on the momentum already built.  That could mean a revamp to the firm’s website is on the way, and an upgrade to the company’s technology stack, said Williamson.

“Companies like Plum are bringing an innovative platform approach to the tried and true approach of co-ownership,” said Williamson.

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