Home or office, New Yorkers never seem to have enough storage space. Sure, there are storages spaces available, but who has time to traipse over to the unit and dig around to find whatever it is you’re looking for? There just isn’t enough time in the day as is.
Enter Boxbee, a “storage valet” that delivers durable plastic boxes, which customers fill with items they wish to store. Boxbee then comes by, picks up the packed items, and stores them in a secure location nearby, then brings them back, when you need them, within 24 hours.
After seeing his parents struggle to locate and move their items from a storage unit, Kristoph Matthews knew there had to be a better solution for urban dwellers. In 2011, with only a one page website and a rented Zipvan, Matthews drove around San Francisco picking up and making deliveries with his “storage valet” company concept. A scientist by training, he created Boxbee to handle the hassle of storing and managing belongings, from the convenience of consumers’ laptops or mobile devices, without them even stepping outside their front door. Since its inception, Boxbee has seen a 30% month over month growth – and recently completed a Series A funding round, led by Metamorphic Ventures. Boxbee secured $5 million, with participation from Floodgate, Northgate, and AngelPad, along with previous investors.
Bragging rights: Boxbee got its start after winning LAUNCH 2013, placing the company among previous winners like Dropbox, Mint.com, and Yammer. Boxbee has also been named one of Business Insider’s Best Startups of 2013, as well as being named one of The CNN 10: Startups for 2014.
Founder and CEO Matthews tells us how he bagged the funding with a clever use of boxes.
Tell us about your service.
Boxbee is a storage and logistics provider for homes and businesses. The idea is simple; Boxbee comes by, picks up your stuff and stores them in a secure location nearby.
How is it different?
Boxbee has a patented logistics and technology system that helps separate us from our competitors. We also realize that urban dwellers very rarely are provided ample storage that fit their needs and living in a city, you want and need your things quicker and faster than ever. Boxbee provides one of the best and fastest infrastructures, which helps us provide a timely and convenient storage experience. In addition to catering to consumers, Boxbee also provides businesses with the ability to store their assets conveniently.
What are the most popular items that people tend to store?
Many of our customers store items that can be swapped out with the seasons or are items that are seldom used. Additionally, materials for hobbies, and sports gar, and bikes are all popular items for people to store with us.
Did being part of AngelPad help your company and how?
Absolutely. Through our work with Thomas Korte, we refined our business model, hired excellent people, figured out hot to get to market, and landed investment from exceptional investors. We are proud to continue this thriving relationship and are thankful they have continued to support us as we grow.
What market you are targeting and how big is it?
We have found that our services are most popular with Millennials involved in the tech industry; however, we aim to serve all consumers who need storage, organization, and logistics, but don’t have the time or materials to achieve these things.
What’s your business model?
Boxbee is a subscription based business model. We generate our revenue through our monthly storage services and deliveries. Pick-ups are always free, but we do seek a profit from our delivery and monthly storage fees. A classic Boxbee box stores for $7.50 a month, while wardrobe or other miscellaneous items like bikes store for $20 a month.
What was the funding process like?
It was a long and careful process of selecting the right investors. We were very particular about finding investors who understood our business model, the operational complexities, and were investing for the right reasons.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
Many investors are impressed by the vision, the brand, or other shiny objects. In my experience these types of investors don’t help when things get tough, because they had the wrong expectations.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
Many investors appreciated the very methodical approach we took to building our team, our product, our culture, and our backend operations. It wasn’t until the second or third meeting that they were able to capture a glimpse as to how complex our business really is (operationally, technically, and in practice) and were impressed by how everything was designed and planned for future scaling. While competition was a concern with investors, they were convinced that our product, operations, and positioning are the best out there.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
Boxbee plans to exponentially grow our user base and to optimize our retention, while continuing to improve our product and services. We also have plans to expand into new markets this coming year.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Utilize your hunger for success as motivation to be more efficient, scrappy, and innovative than your competitors. Then leverage that story of determination and outline how much you’ve accomplished with so much less capital to potential investors.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
We are focused on delivering exceptional experiences and products to the urban dweller. Currently that exists in the form of storage, but we have many more things in the pipeline to help urbanites enjoy simpler, more organized lives.
What’s your favorite NY spot that you like to hit after a long day’s work?
I love sinking into an old Victorian chair with a Scotch in the Library bar at the NoMad hotel. It’s a quiet old English style library with backlit books and a relaxing atmosphere.