Unfortunately, according to real estate broker Colliers, approximately 820,000 Hong Kong households do not have access to a storage room. This bizarre mismatch of accumulating things without the space may be a problem for the consumer, but spells opportunity for the many self-storage startups that are cropping up.
Among them is Boxful, who has just raised a seed round of US $1.5 million from a group of investors in Greater China for their on-demand storage service. The idea is simple: The customer pays HK $49 a month for one storage box, then Boxful provides a free door-to-door pickup service. Each box can fit about 20 pairs of shoes, so if you have larger items such as luggage, golf clubs and sports equipment – Boxful can also accommodate. Of course, all of this can be done via your mobile device whether it’s arranging a pick-up or visual cataloging.
With other valet storage startups such as ‘Vault Dragon’ and ‘StuffGenie’ also in operation, Boxful sets itself apart from the rest by being equipped to handle the local market. “We are started by Hong Kong people with a service catered to Hong Kong customers – operating a Hong Kong-based logistics network requires a Cantonese team and ours is completely bilingual and will service both expat and local customers,” said Wu. “The founders also have significant tech experience, having started another eCommerce company in Mainland China.” Boxful’s co-founder Norman Cheung is no strange to the tech space, as he is also running fashion dropship site Zooq which has teams in Hong Kong, Shanghai and London.
Having officially launched during the first week of January, Boxful has already been gaining quite a bit of traction and is already attracting more capital – fresh out of raising a seed round. “Due to strong interest, we’re already in process of raising a Series A round. We have quite a few exciting initiatives in the pipeline which will require significant funding in the coming months,” said Cheung.
In the past year alone, valet or self-storage startups have sprung up in urban jungles such as Hong Kong, New York and San Francisco – all of them offering up a similar service. Until the space gets properly saturated, it’ll be a race to acquire users and roll out new and improved services. Building up a strong brand may be the main way for these startups to stand out from their competitors and that, will require a healthy dose of capital.
Boxful on Startbase.HK: Boxful