"The idea came to Sriram, one of the co-founders, when his family decided to move in with him to Bangalore. There were 35 years of collectibles, all with sentimental value and meaning. There were gifts that dated back to the 70s, diaries of his grandfather, books, photos; these were things that are priceless. Unfortunately, with the escalated costs of rentals in Bangalore, they either had to be disposed or look for places to store them." - Akhil Mohanan, COO Boxme.
For anyone who’s gone through the hassle of moving into a new house this refrain hits home closer than comfortable. Everyone has been looking for a space to keep their valuables (whatever it may be) safe, while moving. With the advent of organisations like Boxmyspace, and more recently, Boxme, these worries are fast disappearing.
On face value, both are storage solutions companies making storage easy and safer for everyone. Started by Sriram Dandapani, Akhil Mohanan, Aravind A and Ajay Sreedharan, Boxme is the newer kid on block, being just a few weeks old. Talking about the differences, Akhil says, "With Boxme, you only pay for what you use – down to that last cubic foot. If, for example, you store a table that takes up 10 cubic feet, we only charge for that 10 cubic feet of space."
"Sriram and I were working in the same firm when the idea came to Sriram. When he discussed the idea with me, I somewhere could connect with the problem. I, too, felt the absolute lack of storage space and a certain unease and discomfort with the idea of public storage spaces. Deciding to do something about it, we started our background work and research. Sometime in November 2014, Sriram and I decided to setup a landing to get a pulse of the audience. Since we lacked the technical know-how, I approached Aravind, who also happened to be my college friend. He, in turn, got Ajay in, and before we knew it, the four of us began the venture," says Akhil.
Boxme targets both individuals and businesses for their different and varied storage needs. While the idea is welcome to many, they aren't ready to try it out. "Many are wary of the idea of outsourcing storage and inventory management. It is understandable considering security and safety, but it nevertheless is a business challenge," says Akhil.
Citing an example, he further adds, "We talked to an individual selling clothes on Snapdeal about using Boxme for storage. He was adamant that he didn’t need additional storage space. He was okay having his home used as an office space and warehouse; he just wouldn’t get someone to manage his inventory. This perspective has to change. It would take some time. But we’ll get there."
Another issue has been the fact that many businesses have their own warehouses or look at third-party vendors and warehouses. "While this works for large enterprises, they’re alarmingly expensive for any small individual or SME. This category is used to running their own go-down. To convince them to outsource warehouse management to a third-party would be a challenge."
So, how does it work?
Starting out for businesses, Boxme is currently heading towards an individualistic approach, as well. The idea of Boxme is to ensure that individuals have their own unique space that can be controlled. It acts like a post office box for storage. There isn't any minimum duration, amount and advance needed for storing goods with Boxme.
The process is simple: you need to signup with Boxme and tell the team what needs to be stored online. Once a convenient time is decided upon, the boxes are delivered,which are sealed at the location. These tamper-proof seals have a unique ID which is given to the customer and is recorded on the user dashboard. "We’re also looking at fingerprint scanners for those who need them at a future date," says Akhil. “Moreover,” says Akhil, "every item in storage comes with a Boxme liability of upto Rs 9,999. Additional insurance, per item or box, would also be arranged if the customer requests for it."
Boxme aims for individuals and businesses to have storage space at a per cubic foot level for any number of days. "Users have total control on what facilities they want at their storage space – like temperature-controlled, cold storage, insured, &etc. as a simple add-on online, while placing the order...and also to choose what logistics they also want to use – Boxme or any third party provider," says Akhil.
Presently, Boxme is working on a multi-platform app and is also in talks with their first B2B client. "We’re looking to be their fulfilment centre for their products that are sold online," says Akhil. "We’re working on special offers for the grad school students and would be rolling them out soon," adds Akhil
The storage prices begin at Rs. 12 per cubic foot per month or at Rs. 79 for a box for a month.
Web url: www.goboxme.com