Accumulation and hoarding has never been considered to be an enlightened virtue but as the world of business is, there is an opportunity everywhere. One of the up-and-coming trends in the online technology space is companies that provide physical storage spaces on rent, an online portal where one can select a location from the available choices. The company will collect the stuff that you want to store and put it in the space you’ve rented out. Taking into account urbanization, and the way a city life is taking shape, facilities like these do come in handy.
Like most trends in the field of technology, on-demand storage comes from the US. The on-demand storage industry is gaining a strong foothold in the US market with estimated revenue of US $24 billion as of now, with one in 10 people in the US owning a self storage unit. MakeSpace andBoxBee in the US have raised $10M and $7M respectively, and BoxFul in HongKong recently closed a $8M round. Closer home in India, Mumbai-based BoxMySpace recently raised a seed round, announcing the arrival of this trend to the country.
Started by Nitin Dhawan and Pooja Kothari, StoreMore has been in the storage space from a couple of years. It has now, by adding a technology layer,entered the on-demand category. The co-founders met 10 years ago at Mindworks Global Media, a media outsourcing company, where Pooja worked as an Associate Editor and Nitin looked after the finance and accounts functions.
They first teamed up in 2010 for Star Records, a documents management business, where Nitin ran operations while Pooja was an investor. StoreMore was born as a vertical of that business in 2013. StoreMore was then separately launched as a company in 2014. Pooja came onboard to start the StoreMore vertical.
“We have 10 facilities in our network across multiple locations in NCR, which puts nearly one lakh sq. ft. of space under our management,” says Pooja. The customers can choose space in any one of these facilities to store their goods. At any point in time, they have about 200-250 customers’ stuff in storage with them.
StoreMore sells space on a monthly rental basis; customers pay them every month, just like they’d pay house rent. In addition, StoreMore charges for services such as packing and transport of goods, and re-delivery of goods, etc. Talking of their USP, Pooja adds, “StoreMore’s USP lies in its flexible terms—no security deposits and no lock-in periods. Just pay for as long as you use the space that you need.”
The technology angle and vision
StoreMore has a platform that allows customers to browse facilities at multiple locations, see pictures of them, find out information about the basic amenities offered, and book space in them.Users can log in and get detailed descriptions of the inventory of stored goods, so they can recall anything they want and get it re-delivered to any address they want — their own, or a friend’s. “Think of us as a MakeMyTrip for warehousing. In the way you book hotel rooms for your destination of choice and desired length of stay, you can similarly book space in a facility of your choice for as long as you need. That’s how easy we want to make it for customers to extend the amount of space they have, from what they have at home or in the office,” says Pooja.
StoreMore’s vision is to build the largest network of facilities and become the leading provider of storage services to households and businesses in India. “We want to change the warehousing industry in this country by democratizing it and taking it to SMEs and households,” concludes Pooja. The operation’s experience in the space gives StoreMore a good headstart and positions it as a key contender in the on-demand storage area in India.