Stuf, a startup business that’s partnering with commercial property owners to convert unused space to self-storage, has raised $1.8 million in seed funding. With locations in Brooklyn, N.Y., and San Francisco, the company will use the money to expand its footprint. Its goal is to surpass 100,000 square feet of storage space in 2021, according to the source.
Co-founded by CEO Katharine Lau, the New York-based venture signs revenue-sharing deals with landlords and converts the agreed-upon space to storage. Lau looks for options near residents who have to travel long distances to find existing self-storage facilities, a problem prevalent in New York City, she said. The time from touring a potential site to opening is four to six weeks, the source reported.
Lau believes the concept will be particularly attractive to Millennials, who “tend to live more transient lifestyles and visit [their storage site] on a more frequent basis,” she told the source. “The storage facility becomes an extension of their home. It’s about much more than having a place to leave your stuff. It becomes a useful extension of your life.”
To that end, Stuf focuses on interior design that’s “warm and inviting” for customers. Its first locations filled to 90 percent capacity within three months, according to the source. It recently partnered with Neighbor, a national peer-to-peer self-storage marketplace.
Pricing is about the same as for traditional self-storage, however, because the company doesn’t buy buildings or sign a traditional lease, there are some savings the company plans to pass on to customers, Lau explained.
The seed funding was led by venture-capital firms Harlem Capital Partners and Wilshire Lane Partners. “Stuf is truly special because, business opportunity aside, two Black-led VC funds came together to invest in a business founded and run by a woman,” said Henri Pierre-Jacques, managing partner for Harlem Capital. “Katharine stood out given her industry expertise, leadership and vision. We couldn’t be more excited to be on the journey with her as she looks to alter the storage industry.”
TechCrunch, Stuf Raises $1.8M to Rethink Self-Storage