06/08/2014 – Expansión
From renting five apartments among friends to managing more than 24,000 properties in 106 countries. That is the story of Only-Apartments, a company created in 2003 by two architects living in Barcelona, Alon Eldar and Elisabet Cristià, the success of which has led its founders to take the leap onto MAB, the alternative stock market, in search of finance which is intended to accelerate its growth and ignorethe Gowex fraud, which has left the alternative stock market in a difficult period. “We are the first company to be listed on the MAB alternative stock market since the scandal and we have made a very good start. Gowex is an isolated case”, assures Eldar. “It is good that MAB is in the public eye because it is a market of SMEs, ideal for people who need a boost for their business”, they recognise.
As for the motive for which they went for a listing, Eldar explains that “Only could continue to grow like it has done to date, organically, but this would put a limit to our rhythm of progress. We believe that there is an advantage to positioning ourselves as leaders in the sector and, to do that, finance is required”.
The company considered the possibility of going public on MAB after the summer but decided to do it “as soon as possible”, by means of a direct listing, without making an Initial Public Offering (IPO) of shares. ”We have decided to go public by means of a direct listing because we want the shareholders to participate in the company’s creation of value. It means sharing the business rather than selling it, which is what an IPO means”, state QRenta, the firm which has advised them in the MAB listing process.
AS for the business model, its founders explain that “Only-Apartments is not the first shared-economy company to go public, others such as Spotify have done it and successfully. There is a clear demand for this type of company linked to the collaborative economy and this concept is going to play an increasingly important role.”
Before taking the leap onto the stock market, in May, Only made a capital injection of 3.4 million euros, a rate of 1,26 euros per share. The transaction implied valuing the company at 10 million euros. “Between 2011 and 2013, our average sales were 5.1 million with a net profit of one million. We hope that in 2017 our revenues will be between 40 million and 50 million euros, and that profits will represent between 15% and 20% of those revenues,” explain the company’s management.
After the capital injection, the founding partners maintain 65% of the share capital and the rest is listed on the stock market. “Our idea is to have a second round of financing in Autumn and to do that we want the value to increase and we want to conduct this new raising of funds under the best possible conditions,” underlines Cristià. With the funds obtained, Only-Apartments plans to increase its presence in the markets of the American continent and Asia. “There is an enormous potential in both areas and also in Europe. It is a sector where only 5% or 6% of the product is on the market”, explains Eldar. His plan is to reach 300,000 apartments in the next three months.
Original article: Expansión (by R. Ruiz./C.G.Bolinches)
Translation: Aura REE