Pass the Keys, Zoe Vu and Alexander Lyakhotskiy
Can you tell us about your incubator journey?
When we first launched Pass the Keys, an Airbnb management company shortly after our MBA graduation from LBS in 2015, we wanted to be part of the incubator programme, but we were turned down. We carried on with the business, building a website that allows property owners to see how much they can earn from renting out their home on Airbnb. We also signed up the first clients and managed the entire process from writing the Airbnb ad, to handing over keys to guests and cleaning. We felt quite confident in our business and reapplied in 2016 with a stronger proposition and were successful!
Since being in the incubator programme, we have been allocated a mentor, had access to advisors and the angel network E100 and we’ve been given the opportunity to meet and share ideas with other incubator businesses. Being a part of the programme has given us a massive boost in confidence.
So far we’ve celebrated several milestones, which include two rounds of funding and expanding to seven new cities in the UK. We are proud to now be the largest Airbnb management company in the UK and we’re still growing!
How has the incubator helped you grow your business?
Being part of the incubator has been amazing for Pass the Keys. The programme provided learning sessions which were really helpful such as, Branding 101 with Landor and Tax 101 with Deloitte. We pitched our business at the E100 and (thanks to Prof John Mullins) also at the Executive programme - both provided a great opportunity to perfect pitches, get feedback, and network.
What advice would you give to incoming students who have a business idea?
Short answer is just do it! It’s really important to discuss your business idea with someone and get their thoughts and feedback in the early stages. LBS has amazing people, professors, classmates, alumni, etc.
Do you have a top tip for making the most of LBS?
Network as much as you can, make friends and get involved with events / clubs that will not only enhance your skills, but also put you outside of your comfort zone. We’d also highly recommend taking part in an exchange term as it provides the opportunity to network with another school, and also LBS alumni in the area.
In a tweet (140 characters), tell us #whyilovelbs
Turning our business idea into reality with incredible support from everyone at the School is #whyilovelbs