Stuf, a brand new startup remodeling basements and different unused areas into self-storage places, is asserting that it has raised $1.8 million in seed funding.
Co-founder and CEO Katharine Lau beforehand led the true property group at co-working firm Industrious. She informed me that she took an interest within the self-storage trade throughout the early months of the pandemic, after a interval of spring cleansing prompted her to place a few of her belongings into storage.
Lau lives in NY city, the place she mentioned most self-storage places are “approach out within the West Facet Freeway or the East River, fairly removed from the place most individuals dwell.” She added that “at a few of these conventional operations, it felt actually sterile, with these fluorescent lights.”
“They had been designed like morgues,” she mentioned. “You actually don’t know what’s behind these doorways.”
These is probably not huge points for individuals who put their issues in storage after which neglect about them for months or years, however Lau mentioned that it’s a nasty match for the trendy buyer, significantly millennial ladies dwelling in cities.
“Millennials are inclined to dwell extra transient life and go to on a extra frequent foundation,” she mentioned. “The storage facility turns into an extension of their dwelling. It’s about rather more than having place to go away your stuff. It turns into a helpful extension of your life.”
So Stuf appears to be like for what Lau described as “the forgotten areas that weren’t producing cashflow,” signing revenue-sharing offers with landlords after which changing the area. The startup can go from touring a web site to opening up for storage in 4 to 6 weeks, she mentioned.
The result’s a self-storage location nearer to the place prospects really dwell. And Lao mentioned the corporate pays shut consideration to inside design, aiming to create a “heat and alluring” atmosphere that individuals take pleasure in visiting.
Different startups try to reinvent self-storage with a more on-demand approach, the place the corporate picks up your belongings for you. Lau mentioned that’s a pleasant shopper expertise, nevertheless it creates unit economics which might be “fairly difficult.”
Stuf’s pricing is presently “on par” with conventional self-storage, she mentioned, and since “we don’t purchase the buildings or signal [a traditional lease], there are some financial savings we plan to cross on to prospects as we develop.” (Once I checked out listings for Stuf’s Brooklyn location this morning, pricing ranged from $172.51 per 30 days for a ten×6 foot area to $43 for a 5×3 area.)
The startup already has three places in San Francisco and New York. And it’s seeing actual shopper demand, with its preliminary areas crammed to 90% capability inside three months.
The seed funding was led by Wilshire Lane Companions and Harlem Capital, permitting Stuf to proceed opening new places nationwide. Lau’s purpose is to launch greater than 100,000 sq. toes of space for storing in 2021.
“Stuf is really particular as a result of, enterprise alternative apart, two Black-led VC funds got here collectively to spend money on a enterprise based and run by a lady,“ mentioned Harlem Capital Managing Accomplice Henri Pierre-Jacques in a press release. “Katharine stood out given her trade experience, management and imaginative and prescient. We couldn’t be extra excited to be on the journey along with her as she appears to be like to change the storage trade.”