Worldwide, the demand for luxury rentals is on the rise and this gives meaning to the figures behind the industry. Data shows that the vacation rental industry is worth over $112 billion. And for entrepreneurs Calvin L. Butts, Jr. and Carrington M. Carter, that is enticing enough to want to have a bite.
This led them to start East Chop Capital, a private equity firm that invests in real estate and travel recovery. The duo started the firm after Carter went on ski trips with friends from Hampton University. During the trip, they stayed in large vacation rental homes.
“After the third trip, I ran the numbers and concluded that the industry had lots of potentials, especially with the growth of platforms like Vrbo and Airbnb,” Carter told Shoppe Black.
Carter and Butts invested in vacation rental homes, building their first home in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. They then launched the Getaway Society brand, a luxury rental home business. To grow their portfolio, they quickly expanded to Martha’s Vineyard and then to Hilton Head, acquiring about $3.5 million worth of real estate in five years.
“For Martha’s Vineyard, we both knew about the history as an enclave for African Americans, but after Calvin experienced the magic of the Vineyard firsthand following a Sigma Pi Phi Grand Boule’ conference in Boston, we quickly bought some property,” said Carter.
He said that as people learned about their success and inquired about how to invest alongside them, they decided to create a separate private equity firm, East Chop Capital, and launched a real estate fund focused exclusively on luxury vacation rental homes.
“For our first fund, we raised $4 million from 90 investors, 89% of whom are Black, 11% White, and 18% Women. We are on track to deliver 27% returns, net of fees, which is an outstanding performance for any fund manager, especially for a first fund,” he noted.
According to Butts, it took him and his co-founder three years to raise $4 million and raised $9 million in about six months. From their first fund, they sold four properties and made over $3 million in returns to investors.
Speaking on their strategy for identifying and acquiring luxury vacation rental properties in desirable locations across the U.S. and internationally, Carter noted that it is part art, part science.
“First, it starts with us. Places that we have visited and enjoyed, or places that we have heard about as enjoyable vacation destinations,” he told Shoppe Black. “Aside from personal insights, often this intel comes from family, friends, investors, and others in our network. Put another way, we listen to customers of luxury vacation rental homes.”
Butts said the plan for growth is to own a boutique portfolio of 100-150 luxury vacation rental homes around the world. He added that the plan is to continue buying, building, renting, and opportunistically selling over time to generate returns and build wealth while delighting guests around the world.