Storemates has been described is the ‘Airbnb of Storage’.
A peer to peer web based platform that connects people looking for cheap storage space with households and businesses that have spare storage space to rent.
Storemates enables people to safely rent their unused space to people who need cheap local storage. Currently with over 2,000 spaces listed and 12,000 registered users. We offer a trusted, convenient, much cheaper alternative to established commercial self- storage options, by enabling anyone with secure space to operate as a ‘no frills’ storage provider or a ‘Storemate.’
Households with space receive an additional income stream, people without space can source affordable storage more local to them, plus the environment benefits as only existing space is utilised. A win, win, win outcome!
As the Sharing Economy continues to grow to unprecedented levels, consumers familiar with other peer to peer platforms like Airbnb, Uber, TaskRabbit, Just Park, Zip Car, will cross platforms to similar services such as Storemates. Trust, verification and security solutions are now in place for the whole sector and initial skepticism has been replaced with high levels of confidence as more and more people embrace collaborative platforms.
As we only use existing space, we don't have to build warehouses and so will always aim to offer the cheapest storage option, plus we can scale up quickly to meet what we believe will be a high level of demand.
In the future, storage seekers will first search for a suitable 'local Storemate' before considering paying premium prices for Commercial Self Storage.
Substantial accomplishments to date
We have created a successful intuitive online platform using advanced digital technology. We have nearly 2000 storage spaces throughout the UK, growing daily
Over 1000 people have arranged storage through our site, the average rent paid is £20 per week, earning the storage provider £1040 a year. We have more than 12,000 registered users.
A service that is reliable & secure with trust and verification features and integration with Erated. As a result we have not had an abuse of trust to date
Developed our own 'Storage Protection Guarantee', providing £10k cover for theft and damage to both parties
Continued extensive media coverage Incl BBC2 Business doc featuring Storemates as the future of Storage.
Recent accomplishments to date
Have achieved a top scoring Gold Award by independent business analysts CrowdRater.com for Product, Management and Investment Potential
Have negotiated a storage transport option with AnyVan.com with up to 75% discount for our customers.
The platform is web based allowing storage searchers and space providers to list and search for space for free.
We aim for Storemates prices to be around 50% cheaper than local commercial storage in order to always undercut on price and open new markets.
After being a free site in order to increase engagement and inventory, we have now updated our business model to monetise our user activity. The site receives 14% of all storage rent earned in return for security measures, £10k Protection cover and safe payments via FCA regulated GoCardless.
We have found that storers typically leave items in storage for much longer than anticipated. Out of sight equals out of mind, so our revenues continue for little or no ongoing effort. An estimated 40% of people store for 3 years or longer.
Secondary revenue is accrued by a Freemium option where listers pay to upgrade to a premium account for £5.99 for an enhanced package and higher rankings.
Future Revenue Streams
Other income streams will include upselling related products and services such as van hire, removals, box supplies.
We are currently developing commercial storage and ‘business with space’ offer via a membership scheme and will sell under occupied space from existing self storage providers at a discount price.
Future products to be developed on the Storemates Platform also include a peer to peer 'left luggage' scheme and a more personalised end to end storage 'concierge' service.
As Storemates grows, we will look at opportunities for global expansion and franchise models initially in countries where sharing economy sites have really taken off.
Use of proceeds
Marketing: With an inventory of over 2000 storage spaces we want to launch a targeted marketing campaign to attract storers to these new spaces, with an estimated average rent of £20 per week*. A U-Switch campaign will help existing and new storers save money compared to self storage. We will also target budget consumers like students and young families through a range of digital marketing campaigns.
Technology: We will invest in mobile & web-site development, and enhance user experience to ensure that our site is intuitive, mobile first and can scale to meet growth expectations for capacity & security.
People: A growth strategy will need additional organisational capacity resources to cope with increased demand. We will have to increase customer service and the co-ordination of logistics and so will require dedicated customer service operatives to meet what will be a high demand service.
*Based on Dec 2015 figures.
We believe the market is huge.We will target:
1. Those who currently do not have space.
(69% of all fully occupied UK homes lack space for all their belongings. RIBA, 2011)
New build properties are built with less storage space, while most city dwellers now live in small apartments.
2. The 250,000+ existing users of self storage
-Currently 1 in 30 in the UK & 1 in 15 in London (Self Storage Association, Deloitte, 2015).
3. The many who cannot afford to store. (e.g. students, low income families)
4. Those on the move ie. People moving home, in-between university and their parents, travelling, overseas students and international professionals, separating couples etc
4. Those who are looking for a green/ethical/community alternative. 40% of consumers now shop ethically, (Nielson, 2014 -(http://www.nielsen.com/ca/en/press-room/2014/gl...)
5. The growing market of existing 'peer to peer' consumers.
We are the only ‘Sharing Economy’ alternative for self storage, that we are aware of. We will target the millions of UK users who have already embraced peer to peer sites such as Airbnb, Uber, Just Park, Bla Bla Car who will confidently cross platforms to other peer to peer services such as Storemates.
Storage providers are typically property owners with an enthusiastic interest in maximizing their assets to subsidize their income.
B2B: Currently most independent storage companies are only 60-70% occupied. We will target them and sell their unoccupied spaces at a discounted price via the Storemates site. This will enable them to increase their revenues plus provide us with an opportunity to offer a greater diversity of secure spaces.
We will enable other small businesses with secure extra space to rent this out as an additional revenue stream. Such as removal companies, retailers, warehouses, even community venues.
In our opinion the demand for additional storage will increase exponentially in the coming years.
Characteristics of target market
The UK industry is booming with a total turnover of £402m in 2015.
'Big Yellow Storage' reported operating profits of nearly £50M in 2015, a 35% rise from the previous year.
While 80% of all Self Storage Companies surveyed in 2015 confidently stated that they expected profitable growth for the following year. (SSA, 2015)
However we have found self storage companies are restricted in meeting the new demands as they are reliant on land becoming available to build warehouses. We on the other hand have less restrictions to growth - with over 2000 spaces already on our site. We cover every area of the UK including towns and rural areas where we will be the only storage option.
According to PwC, the Global 'Sharing Economy' is currently worth £9B and will grow to £250B by 2025. In our opinion peer to peer sites like Storemates will soon be considered as mainstream as ecommerce sites like Amazon and eBay.
We have a very clear route to market plan:
Being the cheapest and most innovative storage option on the market, that we know of, will help us attract the majority who will compare on price.
70% of people searching for storage go online to find a self-storage facility.(SSA, 2015) More than half a million online searches for self storage every month. We will improve our organic search rankings using optimization techniques and through a digital marketing campaign.
For existing storage users, we will use a high profile digital, print, poster campaign to offer an attractive 'U Switch' deal to help people move over to our half price deal.
For new users and those looking for budget options we will target specific groups such as students, young families, through targeted marketing, social media, special deals, student websites, parent forums, leafleting campuses to raise brand awareness.
We'll target users of other Sharing Economy sites such as Airbnb, Just Park etc
Through building our online community, facebook ads, social media, guest blogs and continual cross platform collaboration to ensure that people enthusiastic about peer to peer platforms come to Storemates as their very first option.
For Storage Providers - we will use PR and targeting to help people who are 'money savvy' and wish to have a second income. We currently have very wide media coverage and have been featured in many guides to earning more money (BBC, Money Saving Expert, Which, Standard - see a selection here http://storemates.co.uk/press) We have found that making money from your loft or garage is still an exciting story that the press are keen to feature.
For B2B we will use targeted sales and marketing methods to excite small businesses about the opportunity to create additional revenue through renting out their underused space.
Through a discount referral scheme we will enable word of mouth recruitment.
With investment we will be able to increase our staff capacity to undertake all of the above campaigns.
Competitors to Storemates include:-
1. Commercial Self Storage (e.g. Big Yellow, Safe Store etc)
2. Box Collection Storage (e.g. Love Space)
3. Other UK storage start-ups (i.e. storenextdoor)
4. Classified Listings Free listings sites (i.e. Gumtree)
Storemates competes successfully with existing competition on:
COST: Due to our very low overheads, Storemates can aim to offer prices 50% cheaper than large self-storage providers and with no tie ins or add-ons (like mandatory insurance or VAT).
We believe we can provide a cheaper option than Box Collection options with higher margins as we do not need to pay delivery costs or the cost of storage ourselves.
CONVENIENCE: Storemates provides 2000+ storage spaces in local locations, in all major cities, smaller towns and isolated locations rather than out of town industrial parks.
EXPANSION & SCALING: We can expand without having to build new storage sites.
TRUST, SAFETY & SECURITY. We provide a community of trust, safety and security features plus a FREE Storage Protection Guarantee of £10,000 for peace of mind. This not available with free listings sites and classified adverts.
After the launch of Storemates - two similar storage start-ups entered the market. Storemates has been in the news headlines through effective PR campaigns, TV and radio features via the BBC and Channel 4. With online endorsements from Money Saving Expert, Which and many others, it established itself as the front runner and market leader. 'ShareMyStorage' dissolved its company in June 2015 after it failed to gain market share and StoreNextDoor changed its operational focus from peer to peer storage to a listings site for commercial storage providers.
Storemates is now the ONLY site focusing on peer to peer storage, that we are aware of, after gaining traction and successfully asserting its market lead over its only two direct competitors.
We aim to disrupt the storage industry in the same way that low cost airlines disrupted the aviation industry.