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James Iles

Exclusive Interview with a $20 Million Dollar Domain Investment Fund

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By James Iles, Jan 18, 2016
  1. Last week, 19 year old Erwan Kina (@ErwanKina) made an announcement that his investment group will be acquiring over $20 million worth of domain names in 2016, with their focus being on buying short .COM domains. Why are they putting so much money into domain names this year? Who are these investors? What plans does the group have for their acquisitions?

    We find out the answers to these questions and much more in this exclusive first interview with Erwan in which he reveals that his group has already bought over $2.5 million worth of domain names in 2016.


    NP: Can you tell us about yourself and how you came to be involved in domain names?

    Erwan: I’m French, and I’ll be 20 years old next month. In January 2015, I was really not happy in my law school in Lyon, France. I was motivated not to spend the next 7-8 years of my life working on something I didn’t like to have a degree I didn’t want. I’ve decided to stop my studies in order to start a new entrepreneurial project. I was able to do so because I made some money a year before by hosting parties in the best night clubs of my city while I was still in high school. I knew I had about 6 months before I had to start making a living with my new project.

    I’ve had the great idea to Google "how to make money online" and on the bottom of a list I read was "Sell websites and domain names." That’s how I discovered the top 100 reported sales of all time, and I was fascinated. My dream was always to negotiate these kinds of deals. So I told myself, "this business is for me; don’t quit until you are number 1." At that time, I had the choice between becoming a football (soccer) player agent, like Jorge Mendes, or a domain expert. I chose domaining because we don’t need any licenses to start.

    I have to thank Ali Zandi (@Zandibot) too. I saw this guy made himself six figures in six months after discovering the domain name industry. From that point, I knew I had no excuses. Hard work, hard work, hard work, and a lot of perseverance.

    Today I’m blessed to work full-time with my great partners. I’m learning so much with them. We have already made great deals. We will keep winning every day!


    NP: We noticed that you now have a $20 million fund to buy domain names. Is this from one investor or several?

    Erwan: Honestly we believe we will acquire more than $20M of domains in 2016; this is just the start. It’s the amount we are sure at 100% we will at least invest.

    One of my partners, Sharjil Saleem built a worldwide network of really big players over the years with G. Chang. He’s from Dubai, and other partners are from China, UAE, and Germany. We will meet to discuss our next goals several times during the year. Our next meeting is scheduled in February in Dubai. All the investors are domain experts.

    I’m in charge of finding the best opportunities and closing deals. I will also broker our best domains very soon. Sharjil was my best client a few months ago. We made awesome deals. He then offered me the opportunity to cooperate more seriously with the network he had built. In any business, you have to find a guy who can help you improve yourself every day. The right mentor shows you how to perform and you can win big from it. In return, you have to invest yourself at 100% for the success of your group.

    (Editor's note: The credibility of Sharjil Saleem has been called into question and caution may be warranted.)


    NP: What type of domain names are you currently acquiring?

    Erwan: Only .com and a few types of .net (very short .net). In .com, we invest in short domains, LL to LLL, and some 4-Letter Chips too.

    The new goal is to acquire about 20 3-Letter .com domains at fair prices. We are also still buying some 4-Letter .com Chips. We will acquire some 4-Letter .net Chips, too. This year we’d also like to have more LL.com domains in our portfolio. Very soon, we will put one of ours for sale.


    NP: Can you reveal any of your recent acquisitions and their prices?

    Erwan: We never report our acquisitions, but I will keep NamePros informed when we put our best domains up for sale. So you will have an idea of our portfolio. For January, we're focused on acquiring huge names. In February, we will start making money.

    In 2016, we have already invested more than $2.5M.


    NP: Do you plan on holding these domain names, or will they be resold quickly?

    Erwan: Some are meant to be kept a while, while others we are motivated to close deals in the short term.

    We have no problem waiting for the right offer for our domains. We will never sell in a rush. We prioritize end-users, but we have no problem selling to a domain investor if we think we can make a good deal.

    We see and appraise a lot of domains every day and if the price is more than fair, we will buy. We don’t necessarily have a time schedule for each domain, but we are confident they will sell sooner or later for a profit.


    NP: What percentage of the domains that you'll buy with the $20 million do you expect to sell to end-users vs other investors?

    Erwan: We first and foremost focus on potential end-users. If we have no active leads, then we are happy to deal with an investor as long as we make some money.


    NP: Do you expect to make a profit on every domain you purchase or do you expect a few big sales to make up for the majority that may not sell for a profit?

    Erwan: I always invest to win. "A penny saved is a penny saved." I take our investments very seriously. I want to be one of the leaders of this business for the next 5 years. To do so, I have to take calculated risks and make great investments for the guys who trust me. To sell, you need to believe in what you offer, so you need to believe in what you acquire in the first place.

    Our strategy is to win on every decision we make.


    Erwan: Thanks for the interview. For anyone interested, I can be reached on NamePros and LinkedIn.

    --

    Thanks to Erwan for taking the time to speak to us. It sounds like it's going to be a very big year for him and his group of investors in terms of both their acquisitions and sales, so expect to see domain sales from this investment group being revealed in the near future.

    Update on Jan 22, 2016: We thought we had a credible source when this article was first published, but we've been unable to verify it with 100% certainty. We will do more research and provide updates.

    Update on Aug 21, 2016: The credibility of Sharjil Saleem has been called into question and caution may be warranted.
     
    The views expressed on this page by users and staff are their own, not those of NamePros.
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  4. James Iles

    About The Author — James Iles

    James is a domain name industry professional currently working on numerous domain industry research, acquisition and sales projects. Contact [email protected] For all inquiries relating to NamePros stories and interviews, please email: [email protected]

    This is James Iles's 133rd blog post on NamePros. View all blog posts

    Home Page:
    https://about.me/iles
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  5. Comments (166)

  6. Brandstring

    Brandstring Established Member

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    Excellent Read,very interested to see how 2016 unfolds for you guys @ErwanKina
     
  7. sbweb

    sbweb Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Sounds like a smart young man with motivation and a bright future.
     
  8. BrandClub.com

    BrandClub.com Account Closed (Requested) VIP

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    To me it looks like a very, very young man with motivation and NO future in domaining ...
    A 20 years old guy that started one year ago in domaining is investing this year 20 million dollars ...
    Hmmm ... don´t feel it :-o
     
  9. Ali

    Ali Top Member Starfire Holdings PRO VIP Trusted Contest Holder

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    You got a bright future ahead of you bro! Good luck! And thanks for the shout out :)
     
  10. Erwan represents a group of investors - all experienced within the domain industry, who are acquiring $20m worth of names.
     
  11. BrandClub.com

    BrandClub.com Account Closed (Requested) VIP

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    Again: A 20 years old guy that started one year ago in domaining "represents a group of investors - all experienced within the domain industry, who are acquiring $20m worth of names."
    Hmmm ... don´t feel it :-o
     
  12. Perceptron

    Perceptron "What you seek, is seeking you!" VIP

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  13. Mahogany

    Mahogany Top Contributor VIP

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    Stop hating. Don't be jealous.

    I admire this kids balls and determination to not be a suit.
     
  14. BrandClub.com

    BrandClub.com Account Closed (Requested) VIP

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    I´m NOT jealous. Just surprised to see how easy, experienced domainers, believe this dream-stories newbies are sharing here ...
     
  15. loredan

    loredan Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Age has nothing to do with domaining. You don't have to be in your 40s, get married and have 3 kids to be an experienced domainer, hell domaining is not rocket science and everyone can learn in a year more than enough to get some basic experience. The kid is young and smart, hats off @ErwanKina hope you'll make it big time!
     
  16. anon22339

    anon22339 Upgraded Member Gold Account ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Having 3 kids in your 40s is not advised. You'll be paying for three kids' college tuitions in your 60s. Yuck.
     
  17. pchip

    pchip Established Member ★★★★★★★★★★

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    I have to ask, are you serious? You actually got into this business by googling how to make money online? And now you found investors to back your business decisions with millions of dollars? Yikes D-:

    Solutes to you for finding business partners like that! That's where the real story is.

    In all honesty, best of luck! With money like that, looking forward to hearing about your acquisitions and sales.
     
  18. Keith DeBoer

    Keith DeBoer Top Member PRO VIP

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    As others have mentioned the overnight success, story line is a bit vague and grandiose. I read it with a pinch of supportive skepticism. Whatever the situation its great to see to see a young man with such enthusiasm for hard work and knowing the value of mentors in a new industry. I wish him all future success.
     
  19. Raymond C

    Raymond C Established Member

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    Well done Erwan! You have a great future ahead of you. You'll become a young millionaire very quickly, probably sometime next year!
     
  20. tld_org

    tld_org Established Member

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    So investors (who are "domain experts") give $20M to someone with no experience to invest, he purchased $2.5M worth in 2.5 weeks but won't share any purchases, and we should all take this as fact? Is this filed in the Fiction category?
     
  21. tld_org

    tld_org Established Member

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    And he's looking for offers for $320 for a non-chip LLLL.com (because spending time trying to sell those $2.5M of acquisitions wouldn't be the focus as much as a $320 sale would). Too funny. Nice article.
     
  22. tld_org

    tld_org Established Member

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  23. Haris

    Haris Best Domainer Of The End-Times

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    I am very enthusiastic and motivated person, I want to be THE leader of this business in the next 5 years, mind giving me some money for investment?
     
  24. harpo

    harpo Top Member VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Having an awesome mentor / someone you respect and feel honored to be with and is willing to teach you and inspired you / take you in his fold and willing to share the enthusiasm and joy of work is priceless .
    He is already on the path / at the right time and the right place and domains he sees as a great future . ~ He is already a success in my mindset .
     
  25. ErwanKina

    ErwanKina Established Member

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    Just a quick note to say thank you @James Iles for taking the time of publishing this interview. And thanks for the nice words everyone, truly appreciated!
    For the most skeptical, I understand your doubts but I won't invest my time proving you I'm f***ing good at what I do. And please don't judge me by my losses because I won't have any :D I trust my partners to make the right decisions with me. I'm very well surrounded.

    And yes @tld_org you noticed the oxuo.com thread I've published earlier today.
    On my free time when I'm not making deals for my group.. I'm making deals for fun. Actually I just closed a deal for oxuo.com at $375 thanks to you (the buyer contacted me just after you commented) and made myself a decent $95 flip. I will always spend a few minute per day flipping domains really quickly because if you make $150/day this way, at the end of the year that's a $54,750 bonus.
    I can negotiate a 7 figures deal and still have a lot of fun making myself a +$100 bonus while eating some sushis. That's a great satisfaction! :D
     
  26. Willox Perez

    Willox Perez Member

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    This is an awesome article. I admire you sharing your story. Based on how you answer those questions I can tell you are way beyond your years. It helps to look at the path of someone like Ali and follow in his footsteps. Congrats bro and look forward to great accomplishments this year.

    - Will
     
  27. Inspiring article for newbie domainers and veterans. Though admittedly I'm filled with skepticism about how big this fund really is. Not jealous, just skeptic.

    I wish you all the best. Hopefully in the future you can divulge more info on your group's domain acquisitions and sales.
     
  28. ZapNano

    ZapNano :( VIP

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    You like Chinese food; "sushis" you will like this name then. "iWokWithSushi" :)
    Make me a deal.. :)
     
  29. wwwweb

    wwwweb Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Take this into perspective with $20M something godaddy was able to buy Marchex portfolio, which had beijing.com, and 200,000 other names in it.

    I see a comment above by tld_org where it states this person is attempting to sell oxuo.com for $320, quite frankly these are the type of names you should be buying for such a fund for under $300 or so if you can.

    I saw the headline $20M to spend etc... well there are many big players who have great portfolios who will discount them for a very low cost value basis, shouldn't be hard to acquire a great portfolio if you really have $20M to spend.
     
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