Back in 2013 Sibylle (Ivan’s sister) decided she need to earn some extra cash to help her out in a tough financial situation. Back then there was a new phenomenon known only as Airbnb - a magical place where you can offer your flat to guests from all around the world to come stay. She decided to experiment and list her incredible Parisian flat on the platform. After few very successful months, on a random conversation with her brother, she mentioned about this “thing” and gave Ivan access to her Airbnb account. Ivan was astonished by the financials of her experiment and proposed to expand and create a dedicated portfolio of rentals. Back then, Sibylle, a corporate lawyer working for Clifford Chance (one of the biggest law companies in the world) did not had the opportunity to quit her job and help the entrepreneurial Bulgarian to launch the venture in Paris. Both Ivan & Sibylle continued on their separate professional ways until couple years later Sibylle moved to London.
In 2015 our founder and current CEO Ivan sold his business in Bulgaria. (Linkedin profile and other info). Shortly afterwards he was blessed with his first child - a baby boy - called Ivan Jr. 1 year after his parental leave from the business scene, Ivan was dreaming about traveling and exploring the world. He was actively searching for the the next thing in his professional life. One day on a beautiful Greek beach (or paralia in the Greek language) lightning struck when he received a sudden phone call from his sister Sibylle with the line “Let’s do your Airbnb idea in London. You will finance and I will take care of everything else.”
For the very first time, 1 July 2016 Ivan stepped foot in the UK, and started small. First with one flat but they saw the opportunity and so increased the portfolio to five. From the 5th flat Ivan quickly understood that the original proposition of Sibylle - “you finance, I manage” was impossible. With every flat added to the portfolio the amount of work grew exponentially. The average inquiry and reservation requests count grew quick. The average count of guests contacts with all sorts of questions and problems also increased. Initially - Ivan took himself the entire online management of the venture - from listing creation to guest communication, calendar & pricing management. And from pure need - Ivan became 24/7 available for their guests. He understood that this won’t be just a side project but a thing that has to be set up very efficiently and professionally in order for him to be able to focus on “ more interesting things” and to create a scalable model.
Ivan’s background and former know-how from the software and online media world positioned him in a unique situation where he could optimize a lot of the processes needed for 5 star guest communication service and Airbnb management - including pricing, calendar management, etc. A little later on Ivan registered the domain FantasticStay.com/net/org/UK/co.uk and started to assemble a team of ex hotel professionals to help him serve the guests of the initial portfolio. From his old contacts, he managed to find couple of Bulgarian people with excellent English and computer skills. After a while and with the confidence that they are not on their own, Ivan and Sibylle increased the investment in their own portfolio.
In under three months, Ivan and Sibylle managed to hit the impressive number of 30 flats in central London. Ivan increased his back office team and took the chance to teach them first hand all the important aspects of Airbnb hosting. Since the portfolio grew really fast, Ivan and Sibylle ran into all sorts of problems hosting on Airbnb: parties, neighbor complains for noise, refund requests and the list goes on and on. The unique position of being on the front line and experiencing first hand all the problems and financial consequences of hosting, Ivan managed to create a unique end-to-end system for managing all aspects of the business, initially, only for in house usage. As of the time of writing this, Ivan’s own vacation rental portfolio has grown to 150 properties in central London, Paris and soon Rome.
One day analyzing the route behind and looking for the future - Ivan realized that the inhouse system and all the know-how gathered in the hosting at scale process are actually something really needed for the millions of Airbnb hosts around the world. Ivan decided to open up and to start helping hosts with as little as 1 shared room in their personal homes to other professional hosts with more than 500 active listings. Thus, FantasticStay was born. Since June 2017 all of the services are offered globally to the wide public.