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IGNITING THE SPARK with Alexander Lyakhotskiy, Pass the Keys

David Farquharson

Pass the Keys is a Premier London based Airbnb Management company also operating in Manchester, Edinburgh and Dublin. Pass the Keys provides a full hospitality package to significantly boost rental income.

Alexander Lyakhotskiy
Alexander Lyakhotskiy

The moment that ignited the spark in me to start a business was…

I was doing an MBA at London Business School, and during my second year I went on an exchange to Berkeley, California. It was there that I heard about Airbnb and how it was impacting the market. When I came back to London, I did a bit more research, and shortly afterwards I decided to start the business. This was in the Winter of early 2015.

The thing that’s most surprised me since I made that move is…

That’s a good question! The thing that surprised me most… there are so many things that have surprised me. Well, I’m kind of still surprised that this whole thing has turned out to be such a success! In the beginning, I didn’t know whether it was going to work well or not, so my biggest surprise is that Pass the Keys has turned out to be a success, so far.

The toughest challenge has been…

I think for us, and for me, the toughest challenge has been to find the right investors.

My biggest success has been…

What I’m really proud of in terms of the business is that we have built a very good team. They are a very capable, very professional, active, energetic team.

I’m very good at…

I am very good at analysing problems and coming up with solutions.

The type of person I look to recruit into my organisation is…

There are multiple criteria, but one of the most important things that I look for in people are that they are drivers, not passengers. I want to work with people who are not content with just following others, but who strive to learn and to educate. I like working with people who will never be content with what we have achieved so far, and who are always aiming for better.

The part of my day I most look forward to is…

A nice sleep? No, no I’m kidding! The part of my day that I most look forward to is probably interacting with my team.

If I could give my 18-year old self on piece of advice, it would be…

Be bold. I would say be bold and take risks.

Outside of work I can be found…

Outside of work I can be found sailing, or flying. I have a pilots license.

My philosophy on life is…

That this life is short and we should get the most out of it.

If I was asking the questions, I would want to know…

I would probably ask other entrepreneurs about the biggest challenges they are currently facing at work. I think that’s a good question, because that would hopefully give me a more intimate level of understanding of the person and, hopefully, their own relationships with others.

What I like about working with Ignition Law…

I think here it is important to mention that Ignition Law believed in me when no-one else did.

It’s an interesting story; when I was starting the business and I was at London Business School, I had to draft my first client contract. I think I contacted about five different companies looking for advice, and explained that I had only just registered my company, had no clients, and needed some help with my first contract. The majority of law firms that I talked to treated me from a purely business transaction point of view – they gave me a quote and explained how it worked.

Ignition Law were different, and that was what I really appreciated at that time. David Farquharson came to see me and we had a really good chat about the challenges of my business and how I could approach them. It was a big investment from their side, and it felt like they were really buying into my business – buying into my ideas when no one else had, and that set us on the right track of trust, which has been absolutely essential up until now.

Now, what I like a lot about Ignition Law is that they put the clients’ interests first. They are always there to offer advice. For example, when something can be done, either by Ignition Law or by someone else, they take into account budgets and costs, and if it ends up being a bit too expensive for us, they proactively help find other solutions which are more affordable. Ignition Law are on my side and understand budgetary constraints and advise how best to spend time and money. It is very much appreciated, rather than just doing anything I request.

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