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App-Based Startup Zootly Offers On-Demand Moving and Portable-Storage Services

Zootly, a New York-based startup business, intends to disrupt the moving and self-storage markets with an on-demand, app-based platform that links consumers with professional movers and small-container, portable-storage options. The company currently connects people with movers within a 100-mile radius of Manhattan, N.Y. It recently launched its Zoot Case stackable storage service, according to the source.

Zootly, a New York-based startup business, intends to disrupt the moving and self-storage markets with an on-demand, app-based platform that links consumers with professional movers and small-container, portable-storage options. The company currently connects people with movers within a 100-mile radius of Manhattan, N.Y. It recently launched its Zoot Case stackable storage service, according to the source.

Founded by filmmaker Rudy Callegari, the company raised $2.5 million from investors in December and has attracted $8.2 million in total investment money so far, the source reported. The company intends to expand service to Canada and 15 U.S. states this year including Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Washington. The company is targeting urban areas with populations between 3 million and 5 million, according to the source.

The patented Zoot Case mobile-storage units allow customers or moving companies to pack and stack the storage containers using a proprietary racking system. The units can be transported by standard moving trucks to another residence or storage facility. The storage pods offer 49 square feet of space.

“[The Zoot Case service] can be especially useful in a ‘less than a truckload’ situation so that items can be stored and then moved on trucks that are already going somewhere,” CEO George Colwell told the source. “It’s convenient and more cost-effective.”

Zootly has partnered with about 50 moving companies thus far. Commercial or residential customers can use the app or company website to schedule a move. The company’s platform pairs customers with movers, including short-notice service. Customers can track moving trucks using their smartphones, according to the source.

Local movers have supported the service because the partnership has reduced their marketing and sales expenses, Colwell said. Moving companies pay Zootly 25 percent of what they collect from customers through the app, the source reported.

The company is exploring a licensing model that could be deployed in small markets.

Ian Gilson, an analyst with investment research firm Zacks, isn’t convinced Zootly will be able to disrupt the “highly competitive” moving business by demanding a 25 percent take, but he believes the company could make inroads into self-storage markets. “A lot of people don’t want a 10-by-10 unit, so if the price is proportionately lower, they may not be averse to renting smaller containers and linking them together,” he told the source.

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