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Toronto Startup OpenUnit Launches Shopify-Style Platform for Self-Storage

Toronto-based startup OpenUnit Inc. has launched a new e-commerce platform for the self-storage industry that also offers many functionalities of a facility-management software. Aiming to be similar to Shopify, the all-in-one solution offers a series of operational tools for accounting, customer relationship management, online marketing, online rentals, payment processing, revenue management, staff communication, unit inventory, Web security and more, according to the source.

OpenUnit accounts can support single or multi-site self-storage operations. Built-in platform features include customer profiles, free Web hosting, group chat, a reporting dashboard and more. There are no fees, though the company receives 2.9 percent of all credit-card payments for online rentals and automated billing, plus 30 cents per transaction, according to the company website.

Company founders Taylor Cooney and Lucas Playford have professional backgrounds in customer experience and digital technology. Though the partners initially set out to build a customer-centric platform similar to Hotwire, they ultimately decided to offer the current solution after speaking with facility operators to identify gaps in available tools and systems.

Founded in 2019, OpenUnit was scheduled to be part of the winter 2020 Y Combinator, a U.S.-based startup incubator and seed-money platform, but deferred its demo day until this week due to the coronavirus pandemic. Companies that have previously launched through Y Combinator include Airbnb, DoorDash and Dropbox. Following a period of private testing, OpenUnit is beginning to integrate self-storage operators onto its platform, and has started a waiting list on its website for companies expressing interest.

Sources:
TechCrunch, OpenUnit Aims to Be Shopify for Self-Storage Facilities
OpenUnit, Website

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