Max Aniort’s journey from the west of France to building a global luxury travel platform is nothing short of a captivating odyssey. Born in Brittany, Max’s childhood unfolded in diverse locations – from Saudi Arabia to Greece, military school in Brittany, and a career spanning Hong Kong, London, New York, and back to Paris.
Max’s company, Le Collectionist, has attracted funding from top-tier investors like Highland Europe, X Ange, Lombard Odier, and Nathalie Le Roy.
In this episode, you will learn:
- Max Aniort’s multicultural upbringing laid the foundation for Le Collectionist, a global luxury travel platform reshaping the industry.
- The evolution of Le Collectionist reflects Max’s pragmatic journey from being a high-achieving student to a strategic entrepreneur.
- The company’s genesis was rooted in Max’s intuition about a market shift, focusing on luxury property rentals and comprehensive services.
- Le Collectionist’s revenue model blends property rentals with a diverse range of consumer services, creating a holistic luxury travel experience.
- Navigating challenges in 2018 and strategically revamping in 2019, Le Collectionist accelerated its growth during the unique demands of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
- Max emphasizes the importance of choosing the right partners in fundraising, citing lessons learned from the challenges of early-stage investments.
- Max envisions Le Collectionist becoming the global leader in luxury travel, not just for property rentals but as a comprehensive travel partner curating diverse experiences.
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About Max Aniort:
Max Aniort has diverse work experience, starting with their role as Co-founder and Executive Director at Le Collectionist from January 2014 to October 2018.
During this time, he played a crucial role in creating tailor-made luxury holiday experiences by selecting exceptional rental properties and providing exceptional services and experiences.
Max also ensured an excellent level of service and user satisfaction for both clients and property owners. He then transitioned to the role of Co-founder and CEO at Le Collectionist in October 2018, where he continued to lead the company as a leader in the luxury home rental industry.
Before their time at Le Collectionist, Max worked as a Senior Consultant at Chappuis Halder from June 2010 to December 2013, where he provided strategic advice.
Prior to that, Max worked as an Analyst at Wight Consulting from February 2009 to July 2009 and as a Credit Analyst at Calyon Hong Kong from July 2008 to January 2009.
Max Aniort attended Lycée Henri IV from 2003 to 2006. After that, they studied at HEC Paris from 2006 to 2010.
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Read the Full Transcription of the Interview:
Alejandro Cremades: All righty hello everyone and welcome to the deal maker show. So today. We have an exciting founder. You know I founder that he’s a you know going to be walking us through his journey you know building scaling financing all of the good stuff that we like to hear ah you know in this case, you know like he went from being a consultant to being an entrepreneur. And we’re gonna be touching you know everything into detail. But again we have quite an inspiring conversation ahead of us so without further ado. Let’s welcome our guest today Max Aniort and your welcome to the show.
Max Aniort: Um, thank you ado.
Alejandro Cremades: So originally born in France but I know that you grew up in different places. How was life growing up for you. Give us a walk through memory lane.
Max Aniort: Yeah, so I was born in Brittany so far west of France ah in bre and then I grew up in Saudi Arabia in Jedam it’s quite different of course. Ah from 1 place to another um, until until I was like ah. Fourteen years old at that moment. We used to spend a whole lot of time in Greece on the small island called kaimnus in the dodecannis islands and then I went back to brittany in military military school so that was completely a different atmosphere and environment. And then Paris I did my business school. Um, and after I worked in Hong Kong London New York and back to Paris funding local editionist so and very quickly that was ah the last thirty eight years of my life.
Alejandro Cremades: So I guess how how did that whole you know, changing places. New friends New you know scenes? How do you think that that shaped you up and how do you think that kind of like build up your world view as well.
Max Aniort: I guess to be honest, it’s um when I came back in France for instance I I didn’t feel french at all and I was like ah no ah talking to my parents who were still like in Saudi Arabia and telling them like oh like french people are so weird and um and so I guess just so you felt very more multiiultural. Ah you it took also while for me to feel that I was belonging to 1 place which is definitely now Paris where I have my. Ah. My family my husband and my daughter um but after the impact maybe for with local echeist is really more like yeah a love for travel. But I think more like connecting with people and ah and knowing that local people like ah. People living in a place do know far better than you how to do? things.
Alejandro Cremades: Now in your case business the world of business. How did you get? you know the yeah attractiveness you know towards it because I know that that was what you ended up being you know going for your studies. So um, why business out of all things.
Max Aniort: I would love to say that it was like a vocation or a patient or something but not at all to be honest, like I was ah a very good student at school and then I did like ah kind of the best um study like so in funs. It’s called. Let’s repattoir um proprietary classes and then I went to Hc which is like a a good business school in Europe ah, based in France next’s to Paris so at first to be honest I think it was not really like ah um, in something I did with passion. It was more like just ah. Doing 1 thing after another being a good student and ah and I read and same thing with working in finance or working in consulting. Um, so I guess it’s really my my journey into like ah work life restart like ten years ago when we funded local collectionist.
Alejandro Cremades: So Then in your case you know like consulting you know you go add it into the labor world you know and obviously you know consulting is same one of the areas that I see essentially very successful Entrepreneurs. You know, really pursuing I find that. Is very good training when it comes to problem solving and the way that it helps you to really develop a framework for grabbing really big problems breaking them down into really small problems and then tackling them 1 by 1 How was that experience for you and how do you think that those Frameworks do. Have helped you as well as an entrepreneur.
Max Aniort: Now I guess 2 things from my ah my experience in ah in in consulting the first one is definitely like the toolbuts I’m still using the tools that I was using ah in my consulting years. Ah I’m still applying the same recipes. I’m seeing pushing everyone to have like ah a yearly quarterly monthly weekly roadmap. Um I’m seeing using ah ah tool called ah raci to split responsibilities between people for for different tasks for 1 project. So I guess at the end. I’m still using a lot of things I I learned during my ah consulting years. That’s the first thing the second thing at that time I was also an employee like ah a lot of other employees in that company and and I think it’s something that is also quite useful. Um, as an entrepreneur to be. Also. And employee before and so to understand sometimes the frustration you can get. You can have ah to understand on those ah with expectations one has in 1 company and um, so no I guess consulting skills of course but also like just being a. But of a team and ah, um, and not like an entrepreneur or Ceo from the start. It’s something that is very useful after um, when you drive a company.
Alejandro Cremades: So then give us um, walk through what was that team. You know that process the sequence of events that needed to happen for you to really bring like Collectionist. You know to live what was going on. You know back in. Let’s say 2013 you know 2014 when you started to really see a world where maybe you know you could venture out on your own and and perhaps bring a solution to a problem that you were seeing.
Max Aniort: Yeah, definitely so at the beginning it was really a question like ah um, a gut feeling that there was something happening on this market like the ah private property run toll industry. Of course it was like a hugeization from airbnb but also feeling that owners from luxury of luxury properties didn’t want to list their ah amazing properties on these kind of platforms and so I think it was. Really the beginning of the story. It was just like a feeling that in that market in that industry something big was happening which it still is because it’s like the highest growth in the ah auspi industry. Um private property rental. Um and that. Ah if we. Focused on 1 segment, especially like the virtualy one with additional layer of services on both like the owners and so guess it was something to there was something to do that was maybe the first approach like the the good feeling that we needed to ah create this sort of company. Second thing we really had a very pragmatic ah proof of comee approach. We started with 2 this nations so Doville in the north of France and san troins the south of France and we had like I don’t remember his target but like such as a small like ah financial target that we ah.
Max Aniort: And we’re like okay either we reach target and we continue the journey or just we don’t reach target and we stop. We don’t want to spend years. You know like working on a project that don’t really has a traction so ah and we eat the target we overperform the target and so yeah, after. We went to raise our some money so it was our first first fundraising in December Two Thousand and fifteen
Alejandro Cremades: So then so then let’s talk about to the um, the business model of like Collectionist what’t ended up being the business model. How do you guys make money.
Max Aniort: Um, so we make money of our most of our money are coming from ah the revenues from the rental part of the activity. So we take 20% on any rentals that we do, um, that’s the the. First step and it accounts for um, mostly like 80% of the revenues of the company depending on the years but it’s ah it’s always around that v 8 to 20% is ah is essentially the consumer service. So if you on the chef if you want to run the boat if you want like a yoga teacher if you want us to organize a small event a small wedding a small birthday party if you’re on the skin instructor. Um, whatever you can wish for we we can provide and ah you just it just has to be legal of course and um and now we have more and more. Ah. Additional services like. For instance, we work for ah the transaction part of the business. So ah, ah for you to buy your property. Ah we connect you to the right people we do also some consulting if you want to build a property in a destin nation and you need you need to understand what kind of property you want to build. To maximize your revenues. It is also something we can do so providing providing you the data from our business for you to build the best property in terms of max imization of the revenues. Um, so property management also like ending your property all your long and whatever you need like ah.
Max Aniort: Renovating the property or or just like be sure to that We open the property that will make sure that everything is working well before season. It’s ah also a part of our revenues so detailed by little detail while adding more and more stream lines of revenues but it will always be to serve the core business and the common sense is. Ah, for um, both customers. So the owners and the guests render their properties rent to property.
Alejandro Cremades: And then also what worthy early days like and and what was that point where you guys were able to really hit product Market fit.
Max Aniort: I guess in 2018 there was ah so 2018 was kind of a difficult year for us for many reasons like ah gross was ah, kind of a bit down profitivity was not there. Um, and so 2019 was really like ah a year ah in which we change a lot of things. Ah, really like ah a break upgraded the portfolio we got rid of ah a absurd. Of the pot for yoga we had also to let like a sort of the company of the people working in the company. Ah go so that 2019 was a difficult job but to yeah the engine of girls restarted and 2020 at vn was kind of when there was like the perfect project fit for us because. When covid it um ah atvn was the best product for people who wanted to travel because it was like a seced area you could choose who you were like ah um, getting in the house with you can choose if you wanted like Twenty So Twenty so 24 7 cleaning teams. All just like no and you found no one coming into the property. So. It’s weird but like 2020 was not really, it was a difficult chair of course like everyone else and we like doing and undoing things every day. Ah borderders opening ah closing and so ah for us like doing.
Max Aniort: New bookings concealing them the day after but at v end there was also ah an alignment of the planets like we had the right product at the right time and after that there was like a big acceleration and especially after that after 2020 we really acceleratlerated also on the m and 8 part of the business who acquired sis companies and totals and 5 companies since 2021? Um, and that and now like ah ah revenues coming from a and a I come from more of um. Around sorry ah 50% of the total revenues of the company.
Alejandro Cremades: So then walk us through as well. The fundraising you know how much capital have you guys raised today and how has it been. You know the journey of going from one cycle to the next.
Max Aniort: So I guess maybe dear on like 80000000 there was like several times where we just you know like raised a small amount of money for deal worth making in terms of m and a just our current investors. So I don’t keep track of all the money but around 80000000 should be ah ah, quite right? Ah so the first the first time it was one point five million and it was in December Two Thousand and fifteen we did it with itsange part of the cpas group now and ba tech ah ventures and it’s weird because I don’t know but um. I felt the first time was the most complicated one because like the business was still very small. You have to prove attractction. Of course you are not the found. Well not so well not profitable at that time. Ah gross was there but like growth from nothing it. it’s it’s easy um so and a lot of people tells you like ah you are ah something of something you know like ah the booking dot com of the property rentals. Ah Google ah maps off, um, whatever. So. You just feel like ah and and you’ll still very young in your business or even like young in age I remember that I was like quite impressed from ah with all these people having think big checkbooks and telling us who we were and what we should do. Ah.
Max Aniort: So I felt like it was ah yeah, most complicated and traumatic ah fundraisypar we had um and also discussing with a lot of people that didn’t understand our business at that time. So a lot of waste of time. Um, but we are really looking the people with. Brought in so ah, it’s San and barek it sounds. Ah, ah, both of them are still ah in the capital of the company itsang ah Ceo. Ah C Beton is still ah sitting at local agents board. So I guess it’s kind of it’s just a story and yeah, bringing the right people with us. Um, and um, yeah I’m I’m really happy and ah I can thank them I’m really grateful because at that time we was super hard to convince anyone being super small because the second ah the second fundraising was in July 2017 at that time. It was also. Along with our first acquisition. So ah, a company called bonder in ibisa um, which is quite a good thing to have ah this kind of very pragmatic and concrete project when you are raising funds because it gives some perspective also to ah to um, an investor. So at that time it was the first investment of a phone called Red River West ah that was ah funded for the first fund a big part of it was funded by amies which is ah ah old in of the pinot family and the pinot family. Ah, atemies.
Max Aniort: Um, as a main stake of our main stakeholder in keing kering having like guchi but gavineta ah Bush um sanurron so a lot of luxury brands. Um, now it was ah it was a fight. It was ah a good deal. Ah for us in terms of ah. Ah variation. But ah, especially in terms of people that we’re bringing into the company because it was a good It was a super recognition of the brand and what we built in terms of literary experience having these guys sore like super expert in what luxury means and how you do the tree. Ah, investing in us that to end was still like small um but it was like yeah they have been super supportive in how to improve our the transparentparence in what we do with the customers in switching. Also I think our mindset towards like how to serve the customers the best we can. Um, so ah and it was also a significant time amount of money. Um, at that time I guess um and on farm it was maybe too much money and with a variation that was maybe a bit higher than what it should have been because. Because I guess we were not really smart. Yeah, in the way we spend that money and in the way and in the plan also that we sold at that time. So but it’s a good lesson because like ah, it’s definitely something that.
Max Aniort: I used that was super useful to me when we raised some money after that. But yeah I think 2019 when it was like a dramatic year fo locality change. It was not at all like a market condition. Whatever because ah covin only it like ah ah, two years after but it was more. An issue with ah um, the business and just we had a lot of money we felt like we needed to go big in you know, recruiting some like very high profiles that were super expensive. We lost I think for a moment our like startup mode. Where you want to do things like for the less money you can put have like the maxima of impact and have like the biggest return on your own investment. Um, so I don’t know you know when you win the lottery in France you have some people. it’s like ah it’s man it’s a legal thing. Have some people helping you to manage this kind of money like you not for you to ah lose it. You have like ah a shrink and a team helping you to use your money of course to enjoy. But ah to use your money in a smart way.
Max Aniort: And I guess for our Cb it was ah it to that it should have fine but have been very useful to have this kind of team helping ah helping us to spend our money in a smart way and and so when we raise after us several times but internally doing our acquisitions. And when we end the last ah fundraising we um, we went through so 60000000 was led by Highland Highland is ah ah at first like ah us fund but it is the european branch that was founded fifteen years ago now based in London and Geneva. Um, the irena sitting at our world is ah ones a funding member of islandland Europe um, amazing woman and and I guess during this fundraising process I was very more authentic about ah even me and the business. In what we could ah deliver ah, the business plan was ah of course attractive but close us to reality and super pragmatic. It was very based on acquisition. So it was very concrete. We had already like Fouro I signed so. 1 more time I I guess the last fund raisingis was was long. It was not the best pair because like ah we started in April Twenty Twenty two when like lastda went down and so everyone like kind of shut down all the discussion they had with in terms of investments.
Max Aniort: But we’re looking enough to have like ah different proposals and and to be able to sign with Highland ah in August Twenty Twenty two point um but yeah at the end. Ah what I love doing this fundraising process was that it was very honest and very honest and direct process. When I felt like maybe the two first ones I was bellny dancing a lot and I’m not the best belly dancer in the room. So yeah, that’s it.
Alejandro Cremades: So I Guess hey obviously you know like when it comes to um, you know, really getting this people excited getting customers excited getting employees. Excited you got to rally them around a vision. So when we’re thinking about the vision here for the collectionist you know imagine you were to go to sleep tonight. Max and you wake up in a world where the vision of the collectionist is fully realized what does that world look like.
Max Aniort: So I guess in that dream life. Um, so well, it’s an extension to what we do today. It’s not a vision that it’s completely abstract from. Ah. Ah, current like ah activity or current trading so well already the the leaders in Europe so will be the local change would be kind of like the leading. The only platform to rent loty property with services. Ah globally. Ah, the idea also is. I think the concept part of the business or like what we can call like the travel pa part of the business would be far more extensive that what we do now so we would end all your holidays. Whatever the accommodation. So of course we’ll have like a specification in. Ah. True um private properties but and more and more today. What we do is like since we know our guests so well and our owners who that that can work and viid is not only to be there one day are renting a luxury property but that. To be there. Whatever the accommodations. So if you go to any hotel like ah for season aman sunva ah we can. We can do that for you and will always make sure that you have the best experience ah being in a private property or being like in ah hotel or.
Max Aniort: Flying private or renting a boat or renting a car.. Whatever ah you do during your traveling more for your personal life and work life but we will be there so in the vision I think it’s really to become like the travel Pa of our guests and ah. Like at the end like super wealthy and so super old so demanding a de ah has like high expectation on ah in terms of service and so to be here and to be the best ones.
Alejandro Cremades: So we’re talking about the future here but I want to talk about the past and and doing so with a lens of reflection if a hours to put you into a time machine and I bring you back in time you know, let’s say I bring you back in in time Max to that moment where. You know you were still you know a consultant you know, maybe like in December and let’s say in December you have the opportunity right there to have a chat. Let me just repeat that and we’ll edit that part. Let’s say I was to put you back into a time machine and I give you the opportunity of. You know going back. You know to let’s say 2000 and in 13 to that moment where you’re still a consultant to that moment where you are envisioning. You know a future where you would be basically becoming ah an entrepreneur venturing into the unknown. Say you’re giving your notice and coming out of chapo holder. You know which was the company that you were working at the time and let’s say you’re right there waiting for that younger self coming out of that building and you’re able to stop that younger self and you’re able to tell that younger self one piece of advice before launching a business. But would that be ny. You know what? you know now.
Max Aniort: Um, maybe 2 things. The first thing would be be careful who you partner with ah and because it’s like ah it’s like ah a work wedding. Um, so ah, it’s very demanding on the relationship that you have and ah it’s a huge adventure but like to be sure to have the right people along you is ah is very important and the second thing would be like to ah ah, be true to yourself and trust yourself more ah. So to be maybe more authentic in ah in our I think it took a lot of fun in in this far in making building the company. So I think it took me a long time to do things the way I really wanted to do them rather than to do them to please. My former business partners. My investors. Ah ah the entrepreneur crowd. Ah and I don’t know why I feel I think I was maybe still a bit young but I guess that if you want entrepreneur um, entrepreneurship is such a commitment. Think you have to be very yeah genuine and um and last but not least, but like this is the other around because I met my husband at the same time he’s like okay this is a good guy that you should marry him because he’s going to be very supportive in a.
Max Aniort: When it is a big big commitment also to build a company and you need someone to be here with you for you with you and so ah married this guy because ah it’s an amazing one and it will help you. Also the links are company.
Alejandro Cremades: That’s amazing So Max for the people that are listening that will love to reach out and say hi. What is the best way for them to do so.
Max Aniort: Um, ah it’s pretty easy I’m on Linkedin so I also almost all the email except for the one really like selling something hard that I don’t need but otherwise ah I um I sharel out so ah, ah, send me an email on Linkedin I will reply.
Alejandro Cremades: I amazing well hey Max. Thank you so much for being on the deal maker show today. It has been an honor to have you with us.
Max Aniort: Thank you so much I know.
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