The man who’s brokering some of the priciest transactions online.
STOCKHOLM – One year ago, Noam Perski returned to his native Sweden to become a digital dealmaker. The downturn had convinced him that affluent consumers were now ready to use whatever channel necessary to get value for money. The hook was transparency: a slick, online marketplace where the best luxury goods could be bought for the best price around the world. The bait was big – very big. A 50-meter long Mangusta open yacht, a six-passenger Sikorsky helicopter and a Gulfstream 340 are just three of over thirty-thousand items for sale on his website, JamesList.com
Perski acknowledged the stark simplicity of his new venture by giving it a cheeky name, an obvious word-play on the ubiquitous classified ad site CraigsList.com. Unlike Craig, however, there is no James behind the business. Perski is founder and CEO of the glossy site which couldn’t look more unlike the primitive listings on CraigsList. Search capabilities are highly refined with hyper-functional entries, rankings and displays. Instead of commissions or introductory fees, the primary revenue stream is a monthly listing fee charged to brokers and dealers. Peripheral advertising is kept to a minimum as a safeguard against cluttered design and layout.
Fifteen years earlier, Perski had been part of the first heady Scandinavian dotcom boom. When the bubble burst, he says he quickly learned humility and the importance of execution over ideas. Deciding to dedicate himself to something more charitable, for the next five years he was fundraising for the International AIDS Society in Geneva. But the entrepreneurial flame was still flickering and when the latest era of capricious speculation went bust, he saw nothing but a golden opportunity.
According to Perski, the site has been visited 2.5 million times in just a year and it has played an integral part in thousands of transactions, many of which are multi-million euro deals. In a sign of bigger things to come, just last month Perski announced that Rob Hersov, former NetJets and Richemont executive, joined his advisory board as chairman.