Omni, an app-based startup specializing in valet self-storage services in San Francisco and parts of the Bay Area, has added item-sharing capabilities for its users. Items stored by customers are categorized as “personal” by default, but the new functions allow users to relabel and share their belongings. Goods can be designated for borrowing by “friends”—Omni members who have connected through the company’s platform—or made available to the entire user base, according to the company website.
Customers looking to borrow items can do so by searching selections from their friends or the total community. When they see an item they’d like to use, they can request it by clicking a link and entering the dates they wish to borrow. They also can include a note to the item’s owner. The owner is then asked to approve or deny the request. If he approves, he temporarily transfers the item to the borrower’s account. Finally, the borrower schedules the item for delivery and return by Omni staff.
While other valet-storage operators have concentrated on by-the-bin storage and delivery services, Omni launched 18 months ago behind a storage-and-fee model geared toward individual items. Once customer goods are collected, staff members photograph and catalog each item or closed container and upload the images and information to the customer’s account. “We positioned ourselves as a storage company, knowing that [itemization] was a Trojan horse,” Ryan Delk, vice president of product and growth, told the source.
Since launch, Omni has itemized more than 100,000 items from its customers, with 29 percent categorized as “home goods and tools,” 25 percent as apparel, and 13 percent as sports and recreation, the source reported.
When Omni received $7 million in investment last year, CEO Thomas McLeod indicated the company was examining sharing and sales capabilities. It launched the sharing service to the entire customer base after a beta test run with limited users.
Enabling the sale of items between customers is still a possibility. Some users have already leveraged the platform to sell items to other customers by ushering payments through PayPal and Venmo, a mobile payment service owned by PayPal, according to Delk. By openly enabling sales between customers, Omni could potentially take a percentage of payment, the source reported.
Omni offers pickup and delivery of stored items and targets urban customers who don’t have storage room in their residence or may not have transportation to a traditional self-storage facility.