London-based CityStasher is building what it calls an ‘Airbnb for luggage’, a network of brick and mortar businesses across Europe that will store your luggage for a few hours after you have checked out or are waiting to check into your travel accommodation.
To help with this mission, CityStasher has raised $1.1 million in seed funding in a round led by VentureFriends, with participation from Howzat Partners, Charlotte Street Capital, and various angel investors. One of those is Big Yellow Storage CEO James Gibson, who was also an earlier backer of the startup.
The problem the young company wants to solve is that having to carry around luggage can often stop you enjoying part of your day when travelling, time that is otherwise wasted. “If you’ve ever been forced out of your Airbnb at 10am, you may be familiar with the issue,” co-founder Anthony Collias tells me.
“Luggage gets in the way of your travels and we want to help travellers make the most of their time. Dragging luggage is tiring and a lot of venues now-a-days outright ban bringing in your bag (museums, stadiums, etc)”.
For the businesses that list on CityStasher’s marketplace — dubbed “StashPoints” — the upside is being able to monetise otherwise empty space, as well as getting more people through the door.
“Brick and mortar businesses are desperately in need of new revenue streams,” says Collias. “As such, it made sense to us to build a network of businesses who can store these bags safely and bringing these two groups together. It brings revenue and footfall to the shops whilst providing a needed service to travellers!”
Collias describes CityStasher’s typical customers as young people in their 20s and 30s, travelling to Europe and staying in Airbnbs. “When their check-in times are late or check-out times early, they leave bags with us whilst they explore their chosen destination for a few more hours”.
He stays the startup is also seeing families leaving big buggies or rucksacks whilst they visit tourist attractions, particularly at its Paris and London StashPoints. Other users include business travellers and some local residents running errands.
The company started off competing against station facilities, which Collias says charge as much as £12.50 per day in London, but has more recently seen startups tackling the same problem.
Already claiming 200 StashPoints in locations across the U.K., Paris, Amsterdam and Berlin, CityStasher plans to use the new funding to launch in five more countries in 2018 and is already set to begin hosting trials with some major budget hotel chains.
“We have the best coverage in the U.K. and our service works out comfortably cheaper per hour than competitors in almost every city. This convenience and price advantage really appeals to the young, travelling, Airbnb generation,” adds the CityStasher co-founder.