German-Based Venture-Capital Firm Launches Valet Self-Storage Business in London

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Rocket Internet, a Germany-based venture-capital firm specializing in e-commerce and business startups, is entering the London self-storage market behind a new company called SpaceWays. The startup will offer valet-style storage services, including pickup, delivery and bin storage, through an online platform.

"We are bringing technology and added customer service to an old-fashioned industry in hopes of expanding the market," Rob Rebholz, one of three SpaceWays co-founders hired by Rocket Internet, told the source.

The business will target customers who generally need to store only small quantities of items and promote the on-demand aspects of its services. The company offers free delivery of its storage bins or pickup of oversized items. Monthly storage fees begin at £6 per bin or oversized item on a minimum three-month contract, and the company will deliver as many bins or oversized items as a customer requires for £19, according to the website.

"If you store your entire household, you wouldn't do that with us,” Rebholz said. He also indicated SpaceWays intends to offer storage of larger quantities as well as moving services for residential and business customers in the future.

Rocket Internet took SpaceWays from concept to execution in eight weeks, according to the source, but is leveraging expertise and companies within its infrastructure to scale the business quickly. It has tapped warehousing expertise from sister company Zalando, an online fashion retailer, and is partnering with established warehouse and delivery firms that company officials declined to identify.

Co-founder David Fuchs will run the SpaceWays global operation and supply chain from the London office. Fuchs previously ran business intelligence at Rocket Internet company Dafiti Mexico, a tech startup, and began his career at J.P. Morgan Investment Bank in London. The third co-founder is Martin Twellmeyer, who previously was a management consultant at Bain & Co. and worked as an investment manager for a private equity fund.

Rebholz began his career as a management consultant at consulting firm A.T. Kearney and later founded an e-commerce company. He is managing director of SpaceWays and will be responsible for marketing and public relations. "Our vision is to be the No. 1 storage company worldwide that provides logistics or storage services to end users," Rebholz said.

Companies affiliated with Rocket Internet offer online shopping for domestic cleaning services, financial services, groceries and taxis in more than 100 countries. The Internet incubator has planned an initial public offering for later this year that could value the firm at between €3 billion and €5 billion, according to the source.

SpaceWays enters the U.K. valet storage market on the heels of LoveSpace, which launched last November and recently raised more than £1.5 million through the online crowdfunding platform Crowdcube.

Sources:

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