Right now some estimates put the revenues for the ‘self storage’ market in the U.S. at around $22 billion in 2012, roughly accounting for 86% of the global market. In the UK the value is an estimated £355m, around 2% of the global market. So let’s agree it’s a big market, and is probably waiting to be disrupted. But right now, if you want to use self storage, you have to rent a big storage facility which you are unlikely to fill with the books from your college days and one or two bits of grandma’s furniture you still don’t know what to do with.
Now UK startup plans to address this issue with a different kind of model. Instead of you hauling your junk to a storage facility, WeStore supplies the storage boxes and arranges collection and storage. Customers only pay for the space they use, eliminating the need to arrange a truck, heavy lifting and paying for excess space. Cleverly, they have gotten customers themselves to manage the whole process online, removing the need for lots of logistics staff.
Today it launches across the UK, following an investment from some leading UK tech Angels including Federico Pirzio-Biroli, Jonty Hurwitz and brand expert Richard Fearn, as well as global logistics provider SEKO. WeStore’s processes will be integrated into SEKO Logistics’ supply chain management system
The company is based in Warner Yard, one of the key hubs for London’s so-called ‘Tech City’, notionally in the East of London but spreading like a virus all over the city.
Henry Villiers, co-founder and CEO of WeStore, says he is “confident” that WeStore can offer practical solutions to a “vast range of household and small business needs.”
A side note: A couple of years Pirzio-Biroli founded Playfair Capital effectively a vehicle of his family office, drawn from the brewing giant behind the Stella Artois beer brand. However, he’s proved and effective Agnel in the London startup scene. Playfair Capital’s current portfolio includes Duedil, Flattr, Mobius Motors, On Device Research and Mixlr. Federico is also the founder of Warner Yard, a co-workspace for tech startups in London’s Clerkenwell district.
Hurwitz founded Wonga.com together with Errol Damelin and is the designer of Wonga’s interface and technology. After leaving Wonga in November 2011 he’s now investing in art and science ventures. He still sits on Wonga’s board.
Fearn is a former advertising executive and now the Director of The Friday Club London, a not-for-profit that brings marketers closer to the tech startup community.