SimplyStow, a Lancaster, Pa.-based startup, is scheduled to launch a peer-to-peer self-storage marketplace next month that will serve the local community and student body at Franklin & Marshall College (F&M). Similar to other shared-economy networks, the app-based company will provide an online platform where people in need of storage can find local hosts willing to rent available space.
Beginning Nov. 16, those in need of storage will be able to peruse the SimplyStow app in search of local storage options. The company is currently running a beta program, allowing hosts and storage seekers to sign up for early access. Thus far, 250 people have registered, with 60 percent listing space for rent and 40 percent looking for storage space, according to the source.
There aren’t any size constraints for hosts to list, and they’ll be allowed to set their own rental price. Listings will include space descriptions and photos. Those looking for storage will be able to consult user ratings and reviews. App-user accounts will be verified through social profiles, the source reported.
Unlike other peer-to-peer storage marketplaces, SimplyStow intends to offer a valet-storage component through which customers will be able to schedule item packing, pick-up and delivery. The company also will provide a digital inventory of stored belongings.
SimplyStow will charge for pickup and delivery based on travel distance, and intends to take a cut of space rentals by charging a transaction fee, possibly 15 percent, according to CEO Paraj Mathur, a 21-year-old senior at F&M, who conceived the company at the end of his junior year.
A business and computer-science major, Mathur is working with fellow student Ionela Turcin, a 21-year-old carrying a double major in biology and Spanish. Mathur came up with the idea for the peer-to-peer service when storing his belongings at Turcin’s house for the summer, while he returned home to California. “Our goal is that no college student or anyone [who has more stuff than space] will need to suffer through self-storage again,” Mathur told the source.
SimplyStow is seeking outside investment to help with startup costs, staffing, further app development, and pickup and delivery services. Mathur plans to eventually expand the service’s reach to other colleges and cities.
“Our goal at a larger scale is to bring the tech-company ecosystem to Lancaster,” he told the source. “That’s a big part of who we are. Whatever our success comes as a company, it stays rooted in Lancaster.”