If you are running a pop up shop and you can’t stand the amount of work it takes to get a space to pop up in, you are not alone. It can be a hassle to secure a venue and your resources are limited, but this company is doing you a favor. The company renting out on-demand retail space for you, Storefront, is what you need to strategically place yourself wherever you want quickly. The platform makes it as easy to book as a hotel room and the fee to use the platform is minimal.
AlleyWatch chatted with CEO Mohamed Haouache about the growing startup changing the face of retail and how they plan to expand over the next few months.
Tell us about the product or service.
Storefront is the world’s largest marketplace for brands to connect with retail spaces. It simplifies the complex search and rental process for retailers interested in going direct-to-consumer and helps space owners fill empty space with the right brand. We are currently active in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, London and Hong Kong and have 10,000+ listings representing $1.2 billion of annualized rental value, serving a brand network of 80,000+.
How is it different?
We are the first player in the sharing economy for retail real estate with a global footprint. For the first time ever, brands have seamless access to over 10,000 premium commercial spaces across three continents. Storefront is a disruptive solution that allows brands and designers to have access to empty retail spaces, and is democratizing commercial real estate space one booking at a time!
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
In the US alone, $7.7 billion is being spent by brands on short-term rental spaces, $7.8 billion in Europe, and $6.7 billion in Asia. Globally, the market for short-term retail is valued at $21 billion.
What is the business model?
Storefront is being called “the Airbnb of retail space” and our business model is similarly structured – we take a commission out of every booking from the brand’s end, which means no fees for landlords.
What inspired the business?
I was in New York during the financial crisis trying to launch a business but couldn’t find short-term retail space at a reasonable price. There was an abundance of empty retail spaces, and plenty of innovative brands ready to launch Pop-Up Stores and events, and yet, they were at an impasse. And that’s when the “Airbnb for retail space” concept was born!
How quickly can someone set up a pop up location on your platform on average?
On Storefront one can booking a retail space as easily as a hotel room. You can request and have a venue booked within the same day. This is phenomenally rapid considering that it takes an average 60 days to set up a retail store.
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
We recently launched Storefront in the UK and Hong Kong, and we are now launching the French and Dutch markets! By December 2016, we aim to manage 15,000 stores throughout 3 continents.
What is the one piece of startup advice that you never got?
I could have benefitted from more advice about the best way to go about hiring for the startup.
If you could be put in touch with anyone in the New York community who would it be and why?
Donald Trump, to explain to him why his policies are mistaken.
Why did you launch in New York?
New York is the fashion retail capital of the world and a logical choice as an intermediary between brands and commercial real estate. It’s one of the great global “train stations” for all industries, from art and fashion to finance. Most great brands and ideas pass through the Big Apple at some point!
What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?