Rey Flemings was in bed when he got a call from Reddit CEO Steve Huffman at 1 a.m. The company holiday party was winding down. Huffman wanted to know if Flemings, who runs a concierge service for ultra-high-net-worth individuals, could find them a place to continue the party.
Flemings got to work.
“Five minutes later, he called me back with a private location that had a swimming pool inside,” Huffman recalled. “All he said was, ‘Don’t f— me on the bill.’”
Only the world’s richest and most successful people can be customers of Flemings’ company Myria, which describes itself as “a private marketplace that offers the goods, services and experiences you can’t Google.”
At another recent party planned by Flemings and hosted at a San Francisco billionaire’s home, technorati mingled with Grammy Award-winning artists. To focus on the present, guests were asked to lock their phones away in special bags. Several beautiful young women greeted guests at the door. A Rüfüs Du Sol producer DJed for the crowd of 100 or so, while the host, an entrepreneur by day and hobbyist musician by night, joined in every so often.
Flemings prides himself on being able to achieve the impossible. When asked for Oscars tickets, Flemings got a client a date, an outfit and a pair of tickets for the ninth row center, next to Jeff Bezos, with only a day’s notice. He says he secured the rental of a $400 million home that had never been available for rent before or since. You can ask him to discreetly matchmake you with A-list actors or royalty.
His clients fall into the ultra-high-net-worth individual category. The company currently provides concierge services to fewer than 100 clients, but their combined wealth is over $400 billion. While there’s no minimum net worth to join, Myria is most useful for people who spend at least $500,000 a year on lifestyle and recreation, he said. Currently, there are several hundred vendors on Myria, none of whom are available to book online.
“The best is never available online,” Flemings said. “You cannot rent the best homes in the world on Airbnb. There are thousands of restaurants you cannot reserve on OpenTable.”
It’s not enough to just have money. For the people Flemings provides access to, they also want to know they won’t be interacting with a jerk.
“Just because you’re rich, doesn’t mean you can buy whatever you want,” he said.
That’s where Myria comes in. Flemings, who was a tech entrepreneur before getting into the luxury concierge space, is now marrying the two together into one tech platform. On Myria, both the service provider and the client are highly vetted and rate each other after the transaction.
Think of it like a very, very elite Airbnb.
That reputation layer is critical, says Michael Seibel, managing director of Y Combinator and a Myria client.
Last year, he wanted to do something special for his mom, who was a huge Chicago Bulls fan in the 1990s. Flemings arranged for Seibel, his mom and family to hang out with Warriors coach and former Chicago Bulls star, Steve Kerr. In exchange, Seibel donated to the Warriors Community Foundation.
Seibel found that Kerr loved participating in that type of experience, but that he faced one key problem.
“They can’t really tell who is going to be polite, nice and cool—and who isn’t—so you can’t just put these things out for sale,” he said.
Seibel hopes that by creating a trusted reputation layer, Myria can open up to more than just the ultra-wealthy, so that people who are respectful but not super wealthy or connected can also access Myria’s special experiences.
Flemings says that clients often contact him after experiencing the "so now what" that comes after extreme success.
He cited a client who had amassed a $3 billion fortune over 30 years in finance, only to then realize he had many other interests like music, but no contacts in the music industry.
“Great success is insular,” he said.
That particularly applies to San Francisco tech founders, who spend many years laser-focused on their startups and on generating enormous fortunes.
Flemings says that many of his earliest and best clients are San Francisco founders.
“They skew young, philanthropic, generous and wanting to have fun,” he said. “The big, bad wolf tech guy trope is overblown. They’re good people trying to figure it out.”
Questions, comments or concerns about this article may be sent to email@example.com