San Francisco-based storage startup Boxbee was founded on the idea of using technology to change the way people thought about urban storage. By providing its users with an inventory system and an ultra-easy way to get boxes for storage picked up and delivered, the company made it so that stored stuff didn’t just disappear into a black hole, never to be seen again.
Now, the company is using those same tools to allow its users to share stuff they’ve stored with their friends who might want to use it.
Boxbee, which is available in San Francisco and New York City, provides standard sized boxes to users who fill them with stuff that they don’t need at any given moment. Since launching in March, Boxbee has had more than 4,100 items added to storage.
For $6 per box per month in SF and $9 per month per box in NYC, Boxbee will take stuff off your hands and put it in secure storage until you needed it again. When the time came to reclaim your things, the company would deliver goods back to users for $15 plus $2 per box.
But how would you know which box you’d want back?
The genius in Boxbee’s system is that it allows users to keep an inventory of the items that are available in their boxes. That lets them request a certain box at any time, instead of having to take all boxes out of storage and rifle through them looking for just a few items.
But this system also lends itself — pun intended — to making those goods available to others who might want to use them. With the new Boxbee “sharing library,” users can do just that. Imagine, for instance, putting ski equipment you’re not going to use this season into Boxbee storage and then having the option to let a friend borrow it instead.
That type of model is the true essence of the “sharing economy,” in which stuff I might not need at a certain time can be used by my peers.
Boxbee’s sharing library isn’t just for sharing with friends, though. To get its customers used to the idea of short-term borrowing and lending, the company is making its own library of goods available to users.
That is, anyone with a Boxbee account can borrow shared items from the company itself — stuff like camping goods, for instance — rather than renting them from traditional sporting goods stores or other lenders. The stuff is free to borrow to users, who need only pay the $15 delivery fee for the goods dropped off to their homes.