Update 5/2/14 – MakeSpace Labs Inc., a startup business specializing in valet self-storage services in New York City, has raised $8 million in venture capital, bringing its total funding to $10.1 million, company officials said in a press release. The infusion of capital has been led by Los Angeles-based UpFront Ventures, and new investors include Founders Fund and OATV (O'Reilly AlphaTech Ventures). All existing seed investors also re-upped during MakeSpace’s latest round of funding.
“With the help of our investors, we’re reinventing the entire concept of how city-dwellers dwell. There’s a rising global trend of urbanization and micro-living, that is, more people are moving to cities and living in increasingly smaller spaces,” said Sam Rosen, CEO of MakeSpace. “Space constraints rank as one of the most stressful aspects of living in a city, but it doesn’t have to anymore.”
MakeSpace intends to use the capital to launch an iPhone app this summer, build out its backend infrastructure and hire additional sales representatives, according to the source. The company also has plans to expand local services in another major city by the end of this year.
“I view MakeSpace as reverse Amazon,” said Mark Suster, general partner at Upfront Ventures, who has joined the MakeSpace board. “Amazon blew up the distribution model of retail. It said, ‘Do you really need to have expensive real estate near your house in order for you to get goods?’ and made it hard for local retailers to compete by having huge cost advantages. Because MakeSpace can store your stuff in a remote location, yet ship it to you at a moment’s notice, we have huge scale advantages to the archaic physical storage infrastructure.”
Several of the investment groups that have invested in MakeSpace also have capital interest in the social media space. Founders Fund is connected to Facebook, Spotify and others, while OATV has interests in Foursquare. Original seed investor Lowercase Capital has invested in Twitter.
MakeSpace received $2.1 million in seed funding in December 2013.
3/19/14 – MakeSpace Labs Inc., a startup business specializing in valet self-storage services in New York City, has launched a new mail-based service that enables customers anywhere in the world to store and ship their belongings. MakeSpace Air is an extension of the company’s localized pickup and delivery offering, with the added element of long-distance shipping. MakeSpace believes the new service will be attractive to traveling customers who would like items shipped to their destination or military families who typically use traditional self-storage, according to the source.
All MakeSpace users receive an itemized, cloud-based catalog of their stored containers. Customers can peruse their stuff online and request delivery of specific belongings. Items delivered locally are done so by company drivers, while MakeSpace Air deliveries are mailed at discount shipping rates, the source reported.
“We’re building a scalable company in a business that traditionally is not scalable. We can scale because of the tech we built,” said Sam Rosen, one of three company founders. MakeSpace technology includes optimized driving routes and pickup schedules, and an online categorizing system.
Similar to other valet self-storage providers like Boxbee Simple Urban Storage and Storrage Inc., MakeSpace stores customer belongings in a secure warehouse. For local users, it will store four company-supplied bins for $25 per month and $6.25 for each additional container. Customers must commit to three months of storage. Local delivery is $29.
MakeSpace Air customers can use their own boxes and are charged $6.25 per 3 cubic feet of space. They must commit to six months of storage.
In either case, MakeSpace will store and deliver oversized items including bicycles, golf clubs and televisions for extra fees. The company doesn’t currently store extremely large items like sofas, beds and tables, although it may accept them at a later date, according to its website. With MakeSpace Air, a customer who stored his skis and didn’t want to travel with them could have the company deliver them anywhere in the world.
“Everyone wants a GroupMe story, an Instagram story, to be bought for a billion dollars by Facebook. That’s not the reality for our startup,” Rosen said. “It doesn’t faze us like that. If we are going to disrupt public storage, we’ll get there one customer at a time.”