Update 4/17/14 – Boxbee Simple Urban Storage has raised $2.3 million in seed-round funding led by investment firm Floodgate Fund LP and drawing buy-in from several other investors including Google Ventures, 500 Startups, Ludlow Ventures, Techstars and Internet entrepreneur Jason Calacanis, according to a report by the “Wall Street Journal.”
The app-based startup business, which specializes in valet self-storage services, will use some of the funding to scale its business domestically and expand its full-time staff from 13 employees to 30, according to the report. CEO Kristoph Matthews said he intends to add to the growing company’s engineering, customer-service, sales and marketing teams, as well as increase the number of staff who handle customer storage containers in its warehouses.
Boxbee is also testing a shared “library” service, in which customers can lend items they have in storage to others, according to Ann Miura-Ko, a co-founding partner at Floodgate, who also has invested in SpareFoot, an online self-storage marketplace that helps consumers find and reserve traditional self-storage units. With the library, customers can send invitations or links to friends who can view photos of items offered on loan and choose to have desired pieces shipped directly to them.
“Boxbee is a modern-day shipping, valet and storage service,” Miura-Ko said. “There’s a sort of ease-of-use to it, when it comes to pickup and drop-offs, that makes it appealing to customers. But then there is the storage service, which makes it very sticky as well.”
Similar storage-related businesses that have received “angel-” and venture-backed funding include Clutter Inc., CityStash Holdings LLC, The Box Butler and Unpakt LLC, according to the report.
2/18/14 – Boxbee Simple Urban Storage, a startup business specializing in valet self-storage services, has refined its business model since launching last year in San Francisco. The company has added New York City to its service area, purchased its own delivery vehicles and warehouse space, and upgraded its storage containers.
“At launch we were using cardboard boxes for storage and Task Rabbits for shuttle services,” CEO Kristoph Matthews told the source. “That worked well as a proof of concept, but now we are investing a lot of resources into building a real logistics structure. We are bringing everything in-house, from the transportation with our own branded vehicles to our own warehouses and storage space. This means we have complete control, which means a faster turnaround time for our customers.”
Boxbee’s services work similarly to other recent, valet-style storage startups targeting customers in urban environments with little home storage. When customers sign up for service online, the company delivers storage bins to their home for free. Customers then create an inventory on the Boxbee website of which items are stored in each container and schedule a free pickup. The boxes are then retrieved and stored in a secure warehouse for between $6 and $10 per month per bin. Whenever customers want to retrieve belongings, Boxbee will deliver the desired bins for a $15 fee and $2 per bin.
The company currently stores about 5,000 boxes, according to the source. “Traditional storage is disorganized and unpleasant—you have to own or rent a vehicle, drive to the unit, waste time finding whatever it is you are interested in, close up the unit and drive back. Nobody likes this,” Matthews said. “I see Boxbee as being in the business of making urban life more convenient and efficient.”
Last December, Boxbee also debuted a “sharing library” in which customers can share items they have in storage with friends and colleagues.
Other self-storage valet businesses have sprouted up in the United States within the past year, including Clutter in Los Angeles and Storrage Inc. in Seattle.