Ashok Vallu, a Mumbai-based freelancer, had to move to Singapore for a month on a project. “I was in a catch-22 situation as I had some goods which I didn’t want to carry to Singapore. At the same time, I was not in a position to afford a flat in Mumbai while working in another country,” says Ashok. The confusion prompted Ashok to look out for options to store his belongings.
Meanwhile, Ashok came to know about Boxmyspace which is a simple and secure storage solution and helps people store their stuff and clear up space in their home and office. “Boxmyspace came as a blessing in disguise for me as I was looking for an efficient and affordable storage option,” says Ashok.
The Mumbai-based venture provides storage at the customer's doorstep..To avail service one has to order boxes online and Boxmyspace gets them dropped off at their convenience. All people need to do is pack their stuff in the boxes offered by the company (plastic; 3 sq ft in size). “We then collect the boxes and store them for customers. Before locking the boxes, we take a top-view picture of the boxes and upload it to the customer’s account,” says Pratyush Jalan, CEO and co-founder, Boxmyspace.
The above process makes it easier for Boxmyspace to recognise the items stored with them and recall the boxes anytime the customer wants. The whole process of ordering boxes, scheduling a pickup, tracking and indexing the boxes is done online through Boxmyspace’s web portal and mobile application (link).
“It has just been a few weeks since we launched the service, and already people have started storing with us. In terms of the segment, right now we are focusing on people who are going out of the city for work (professionals, freelancers) who need to store their stuff; or people who are in between homes and need space to keep their stuff,” adds Pratyush.
Mumbai, being such a space crunch city, Pratyush believes there is a huge storage market specially with no existing storage service/facility in the city. In terms of pricing, Boxmyspace charges Rs 250 per box for a minimum storage period of three months.
Pratyush always wanted to start something on his own and therefore moved back to India from the US. His stint in WebEngage really helped him understand the startup ecosystem and its dynamics. Avlesh (co-founder, WebEngage) has been a role-model for him.
BoxMySpace is simply a unique storage solution that helps people declutter their home and office space. “Our USP is our concept of storage by the box in the most simple and convenient way with clear pricing. I knew about the concept of self-storage in the western markets and researched a lot on how it could be fitted in the Indian market as I was surprised to find that there wasn’t any storage service available in the city,” points out Pratyush.
“Each box has a unique id and we also give our customers an inventory sheet to fill in what they have stored in the box. When my team goes for collection, they seal the boxes with an anti-tampering seal which has the same unique id as the box. They also take a top-view picture of the box which is later uploaded to the customer's account so that its easier for them to track and call their box back,” says Pratyush.
For warehousing, the company tied up with a logistics company which handles the inward and outward of the boxes based on bar-coding and unique id. At present, it has one hub setup in Mumbai for the logistics, and plans to setup another one to cover the other part of Mumbai.
Currently Pratyush works with a team of seven people which includes a designer, a developer and others in logistic operations. “The initial struggle is in shaping the venture team building and strategising unique ways of marketing the service as it is a new concept,” he explains.
Globally, one of the biggest startup in on-demand storage space is MakeSpace which is operational in NYC. Other than that, there is a bunch of startups work on similar lines in the UK. The company is currently focused in marketing the service and streamlining its process. “We then plan to scale up to other part of Mumbai in the coming months,” reveals Pratyush.