Giana: Your company is fairly young and the Stasher brand is not yet established globally. Can you tell us a little bit more about your platform?
Jacob: Absolutely. Stasher is a start-up that I co-founded five years ago with Anthony Collias, a friend of mine from university. Today, we’re live in 250 cities, have stored over half a million bags, and are looking at expanding further and increasing coverage in all the places where we operate today. Anthony used to live very centrally in London and he often had people leaving stuff at his home. So, we started thinking about some kind of Airbnb or a platform for storage.
Obviously, you found investors that shared your enthusiasm?
Back in December 2016, when it was me and Anthony not even full-time working on the idea, we cold-emailed the CEO of the Big Yellow Storage Company, really just asking for his advice as a guy who knows the industry well. These conversations progressed to him becoming our first investor, which was awesome. With this funding, we expanded the business around the UK and attracted more venture investment from a couple of seed funds and venture friends. This took us to the beginning of this year when we raised another $2.5 million to further grow the business.
Who are the hosts you are partnering with?
We started out building a really basic website to provide storage in peoples’ homes. But soon after, we started to sign up professional partners. Mostly they are hotels, businesses, or shops with extra storage space, reliable opening hours, and often security features like CCTV, things that make people feel comfortable and safe. No one is really concerned about leaving luggage in a hotel because it’s common practice anyway. Many businesses were indeed very keen to earn ancillary revenues because of the rising pressure of e-commerce or the threat of Airbnb, in the case of hotels. Our offer was received very well: a win–win proposal.
And who are your customers and why do they use Stasher?
People using our service are mostly travelers and tourists, particularly the Airbnb generation. While hotels will mostly be able to accommodate your luggage, Airbnbs will not, and their customers are quite likely to encounter the problem of checking out and not having anywhere easy to keep their luggage. That’s where we come in. Our network provides really cheap storage – normally half the price of lockers – and it's more convenient too because we have locations all around the city. Plus, there is another, very local aspect: If you leave your luggage with a local shop or hotel, they can give you friendly advice on the area, and this also sort of creates a community sense that matches well with the Airbnb spirit.