Valet Self-Storage Startup MakeSpace Suspects Motives Behind New Manhattan Mini Ad Campaign

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MakeSpace Labs Inc., a startup business specializing in valet self-storage services in New York City, believes a local marketing campaign launched by Manhattan Mini Storage is aimed at its cloud-based, pickup-and-delivery business model. Manhattan Mini has purchased several billboards around the city warning customers: “Don’t trust the cloud.”

MakeSpace stores customer belongings in a secure warehouse. Customers receive an itemized, cloud-based catalog of their stored containers in which they can peruse their stuff online and request delivery of specific items. CEO Sam Rosen believes the Manhattan Mini ads are referring to this service.

Manhattan Mini officials have said the campaign, which launched in May, is about records storage. “We feel the message is highly appropriate, given the increasingly digital age we’re all living in … not to mention the number of horror stories we hear daily from people who have lost all their valuable data and information because they didn’t have hard-copy backups,” the company wrote in its May 1 blog.

The campaign was released shortly after MakeSpace announced it had raised $8 million in venture capital, bringing its total funding to $10.1 million since launching last September. Rosen told the source he believes the ads are "clearly tied to the splash [MakeSpace] is making."

MakeSpace has said it intends to use its latest capital to launch an iPhone app this summer, build out its backend infrastructure and hire additional sales representatives. The company also has plans to expand local services in another major city by the end of this year.

MakeSpace is similar to other recent startups like Boxbee Simple Urban Storage, Remote Garage and Storrage Inc., which offer customers pickup, delivery and bin-storage services through an online platform.

Adam Sank, communications manager for Manhattan Mini, denied Rosen’s assertion that the billboards are targeting the startup, telling the source: "Our 'cloud' ad—one of nearly 10 that make up our new campaign—refers to virtual storage, as in the iPhone’s cloud, and has nothing whatsoever to do with MakeSpace or any other so-called cloud-storage company."

Manhattan Mini Storage has 17 self-storage locations throughout Manhattan. It is owned by Edison Properties, a family-owned business that also operates Edison ParkFast, a network of 40 garages and lots throughout Baltimore, New York City and Northeast New Jersey. Edison's properties include workspace offices, executive offices and pre-built suites, The Hippodrome office building, and The Ludlow, a luxury residential high-rise on the Lower East Side.

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