The founders of Ticketbis enter fully into the management of urban apartments

The founders of Ticketbis, Jon Uriarte and Ander Michelena, want to play hard in the real estate asset management business with Líbere Hospitality, the urban apartment operator promoted by both partners. Although the company was created two years ago coinciding with the launch of its Socimi All Iron RE I, a company listed on BME Growth and with assets worth more than 75 million euros, it is now that Spanish entrepreneurs want to launch themselves fully into this business, with a risk and investor profile different from that of the Socimi, but complementary.

“Our goal is to be leaders at the European level in the management of accommodation assets in the short and medium term, and to be an alternative to hotels and individuals who offer their homes through Airbnb and other similar platforms,” ​​says Uriarte, who He adds that the idea is “to replicate what we did with Ticketbis”, the ticket trading platform that sold in 2016 for 165 million.

As then they will seek to make the quick international leap. Ticketbis started in 2010 and just one year later, after billing a million in its first year, it was already operating in five countries and four years later in 48. “With Líbere this year we will be focused on Spain, but soon we will begin to analyze markets to start the international expansion in 2022 ”, continues the manager.

Uriarte recognizes that the objective is very ambitious and that to achieve it they need to have different ways of attracting assets. For this reason, Líbere, which is co-directed by Mikel Rodríguez and Antón de la Rica, will not only operate the buildings of the group’s Socimi but also those of other owners, whether they are other Socimis or private investors or family offices, and it is to them and to the clients that they want to convey their value proposition.

Rodríguez clarifies that Líbere is not an Airbnb. “We operate entire buildings, which brings us closer to a hotel chain, although we specialize in alternative urban accommodation. And we distribute the apartments and hostels directly through our website (www.staylibere.com/es) or through channels such as Booking, Expedia, Airbnb or Google Hotel, which help us attract more customers ”, says the co-director, who remarks that all the assets that Líbere operates comply with the regulation.

The operator focuses on apartment buildings located in city centers. They are currently operating an aparthotel with 120 apartments in the center of Vitoria, which opened its doors last December, and a hostel in San Sebastián with 124 beds. This Monday they begin to market another small apartment building in Bilbao, located opposite the Guggenheim, which will be open at the beginning of April. “In addition, we are negotiating operations that will allow us to have another 240 apartments and another 200 hostel beds in Madrid, Seville and Valencia throughout this year,” says De la Rica.

Everything that Líbere manages right now is owned by the group’s Socimi, but the assets they are negotiating are already owned by third-party owners. “The goal is for the portfolio to be 30-70 within two to three years. Third-party properties will be key in our international expansion ”, continues Uriarte.

In any case, All Iron RE I announced yesterday an agreement with Líbere to be the preferred operator to manage the Socimi’s assets, although this will not exclude that other companies can operate their buildings, as reported to BME Growth. The Socimi has a portfolio of eight assets (three in operation) and has announced the purchase of a ninth in Seville, pending closure.

Antón de la Rica and Mikel Rodríguez, general co-directors of Líbere.

According to Uriarte, Líbere is looking for buildings to manage in Madrid and Barcelona and in Seville, Malaga, San Sebastián, Valencia and Bilbao. They are also interested in real estate in other Andalusian cities, Palma de Mallorca and Alicante. “A priori, we do not rule out any other, but in our active search we do prioritize the cities indicated,” emphasizes Uriarte, who points out that not all the assets that Líbere manages will have to do so with its brand.

Despite the crisis in the tourism sector, Líbere highlights that its building in Vitoria has an occupancy rate of over 90%, thanks to the fact that a large part of the apartments have been allocated to medium-term stays for people who need it for work with the pandemic. A customer profile that, together with the one who travels for tourism, will remain in focus once the Covid-19 passes. Also and despite the situation, Líbere has increased its workforce from 5 people to more than 30 in one year and hopes to end this year with more than 50.

Uriarte highlights the strong commitment they have made to technology and autonomous buildings, “which not only allows us to reduce costs and maximize profit (which is very attractive for property owners), but also to offer a much better and personalized service to our tenants. We have tools that allow us to better understand your needs and respond instantly to any query, through a bot (robot) or a person. It is something totally disruptive that will allow us to achieve the leadership we seek ”.

The manager points out that there are people who believe that autonomous buildings are a threat to employment, “but this is not the case.” “What they do generate are higher quality jobs. We want the professionals who work in Líbere to not scan a passport or ID, give a towel or hand over a key, as many hotel employees do, but rather do more value-added tasks aimed at providing better service to the client. For example, by offering cultural proposals from the city from our content department “.

Líbere is part of the All Iron group, founded by the aforementioned Uriarte and Michelena, who in addition to the manager of urban apartments and the Socimi All Iron Re I, have with the investment vehicle All Iron Ventures, specialized in investing in startups, which in October 2020 raised 66.5 million euros at the closing of its first venture capital fund.

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