Be Mate Buys Alterkeys To Take On More Than 100,000 Apartments

22 January 2015 – Expansión

Growth / The online platform, launched in September, lists 111,000 homes across Europe.

Be Mate, the online platform for tourist accommodation, launched by Enrique Sarasola, the Chairman of the hotel chain Room Mate, has strengthened its business through its first acquisition. The target, Alterkeys, a start-up created in the UK, but based in Spain, has a portfolio of 102,000 apartments located across 42 countries.

The transaction has been completed through a cash payment and a package of Be Mate stock options, linked to the business’s fulfilment of a series of milestones over the short and medium term. Be Mate has financed the monetary contribution, which represents 70% of the total consideration, from its own funds.

Following the acquisition, the management team of Alterkeys, led by its founder José María González, will be integrated into Be Mate, which has hired Jorge Gómez Sancha as CEO. Mr Gómez Sancha founded De Banjo, a company specialising in video on demand, which was subsequently sold to TDF Media Services.

Over the next six months, Be Mate’s team will study the portfolio of apartments listed on Alterkeys to determine how many fit with its business. Sarasola, who together with other partners is the primary individual shareholder of the platform, with a 44.28% stake, calculates that “around two thirds of the properties will be incorporated into Be Mate’s platform”. In the businessman’s own words “this acquisition allows Be Mate to grow very quickly and have a presence in every European capital”. The main markets serviced by Alterkeys are the UK, Italy, France, Germany, Scandinavia and Spain, where it lists 10,900 apartments.

Hotel partnerships

Sarasola admits that they have not yet decided how the Alterkeys brand will be used. The question will be resolved over the next few months, once Be Mate, which itself lists 9,000 tourist homes, has had the opportunity to segment the new supply. During the second half of the year, Be Mate will develop partnerships with independent hotels in those cities in which Room Mate does not have a presence, since Be Mate seeks to differentiate itself from other companies, such as AirBnB, by offering certain hotel-style services to its clients during their stay. Be Mate has received more than 1.5 million visits since September and has more than 7,000 registered users.

Original story: Expansión (by Yolanda Blanco)

Translation: Carmel Drake

64