by Raphaëlle de Monteynard
Swimmy allows people to rent private pools in France and Spain. Each season has meant considerable growth for the marketplace, and Swimmy welcomes the summer of 2020 with a user base of over 45,000.
Raphaëlle de Monteynard has an inspiring message to any early-stage marketplace entrepreneur.
“Everything doesn’t have to be perfect when you start a business. The most important thing is to learn if your idea will work, and you don’t need a lot for that.”
For Raphaëlle, the learning process started in July 2017. She launched the first version of her pool rentals marketplace, Swimmy, just in time for the summer season to kick in in France.
“Before launching, I spent some time researching the market. I made calculations based on the numbers of private pools in different countries, contacted insurance providers, and had over 400 calls with pool owners that would be my target audience for supply”, Raphaëlle explains.
“It’s fun to investigate, but the truth is, until you’ve launched, you know nothing.”
Hiring a developer felt like a risky choice for Raphaëlle, who didn’t want to waste time in project management. The seasonal nature of the business provided an additional challenge and meant Raphaëlle had to be sure her platform would work seamlessly the moment it went live.
All this made Sharetribe Go a great fit to get Swimmy launched in time for the season.
Raphaëlle's commitment to launch fast proved to be right the right choice. Over 1,000 users registered to the platform during its first summer.
“Swimmy offers customers an experience that is close to a holiday: a day with family and friends, with a pool and a nice garden all to themselves. It’s great that private pools are used more, that the joy they provide can be shared,” Raphaëlle says.
In addition to validating her idea, the success showed Raphaëlle the features in Go weren’t enough to take her business to the next level. In 2018, among the very first businesses, Swimmy moved to Sharetribe Flex.
“At first, it was a challenge. My business was new, and Flex was new, and the software didn’t have everything we would have wanted. But compared to the cost of building a marketplace from scratch, Flex was the right choice for us. Reliability and communication have since been top-notch, too.”
Overall, Raphaëlle thinks the path from Sharetribe Go to Flex is ideal for marketplace founders like her. “Sharetribe offers the right features at the right time,” she says.
“Now, for the moment, we can continue to grow our business with Flex without having to build our own backend.”
Each summer following the launch has meant considerable growth for Swimmy. Today, the marketplace provides happy days by the pool to over 45,000 users around France and Spain. The site has also gained impressive press coverage, with stories in large national outlets like Le 20 Heures de TF1, France Info, and Le Parisien.
The next milestone for the four-person Swimmy team is reaching profitability.
“I think we’ve achieved something meaningful by proving there’s a market we can address,” explains Raphaëlle.
“But I don’t want to stop there. I want to build a sustainable company and a culture that brings joy to the team. I also want to give back. Last year we were already able to donate a part of our profit to three charities, and we would like to be able to give to charities in the future, too.”
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