HOW TO BUY A PRIVATE ISLAND ON A SHOESTRING
Start-up FOUNDER Maneesh Sethi SPLIT the cost of an island with 10 OF HIS FRIENDS. Here, he explains HOW…
start-up founder Maneesh Sethi split the cost of his slice of paradise with friends
SET THE GOAL. When I was 16 I decided I wanted to buy an island. So, when my friend Tynan called me four years ago and said he was looking for nine other people to buy a cheap private island with, I said yes immediately. Along with a group of 10 or so people, we split the cost, so we each own onetenth of it as an LLC (a Limited Liability Company). The entire cost of the island was less than US$100,000, so it was less than US$10,000 each.
SHOP AROUND. There is an online marketplace for islands called Private Islands Online, but everything there is very overpriced, ranging from around US$250,000 to US$5 million. Instead, we looked on Kijiji, a Canadian version of Craiglist. Our island is located in Nova Scotia in Canada, and it’s two hectares across, which feels big for us. People ask why we didn’t choose somewhere hotter, but it can be [too far to] travel to get to tropical islands – and it’s a lot more expensive.
POOL RESOURCES. Because there are 10 of us, developing the island isn’t a lonely task. And the people in our group are engineers and van-dwellers – people that actually do things. As an entrepreneur, I don’t have the bandwidth to plan building a dock or landscaping. [On] our first visit we only had an inflatable raft to get there and I was wearing my nice clothes, clearing trails.
CREATE RULES. You can get voted off our island! We have a constitution. We’re developing a constitution through a Facebook page that lets us discuss plans for the island, organise trips and debate if we should have goats. I have a goatphobia so I am very much against goats on the island! We’re building one big communal structure, and then each [will] have our own private plot to build on.
MANAGE EXPECTATIONS. As the co-founder of Pavlok, a wearable device that helps you to break bad habits, I’m busier than ever. Although we have 3G coverage on the island, I haven’t ever tried to work there. In fact, I haven’t been there for a year. At least I’m assured that my island is being cared for by someone who treats it like his own – because it also belongs to him.