If you Can’t Make Time, MakeSpace
A few months ago I wrote about an entrepreneur, Sam Rosen, whom we brought on as an EIR at Upfront Ventures.
I would have liked to have been even more Upfront with you back then about our intentions with Sam but out of respect to him we held back on our broader thesis until now.
Today we announced our launch.
Here’s the deal.
I met up with Sam in NYC last year to talk about “what he was up to.” He was already a line to me, not a dot. He was on the list of people whom I tracked.
His ideas to date hadn’t totally resonated and of course ideas matter, too.
So I was doing my job. I was in NYC and I lined up my usual 20 meetings on my trip. Sam was always on that list for a coffee.
On my meeting he told me about the impact Hurricane Sandy had had on him and his loved ones.
His message was that he realized he needed to move his girlfriend’s stuff into a storage facility due to apartment flooding.
I felt bad. I enquired what he was going to do.
Now remember that Sam is an entrepreneur. In stead of saying, “Poor me. Life sucks. I lost big time from this hurricane.”
What he said to me was …
“Mark. We are staring at losing everything. So I had clarity. I needed solutions. And every storage facility in town is a black box. I’ll move our stuff into a storage facility because I have no choice. But it ought to be better.”
“I have no other choice.”
“It ought to be better.”
My ears percolated.
Could it be better? Could YOU make it better?
He had ideas.
He told me that he imagined a world in which he didn’t have to drive to a remote location outside of NY to bring his stuff to.
He thought he’d want to get some of his stuff back once the post trauma of the storage had passed.
He wanted an Uber experience. But with storage.
I was ecstatic. It resonated.
When I was in college (UCSD, go Tritons!) I used storage. It was in San Diego and I had space in my apartment but I had a lot of extra stuff that was easier stored in a facility. I had to drive 30 minutes southeast of La Jolla to find a unit and what a pain it was. I went back 2-3 times to retrieve stuff. Each time was a trip. Having the time back would have been a huge benefit to me. Worth the small fee to ship my requested items to me.
After school I joined Accenture and traveled the world on projects and storage became even more important.
But after several years on the road I had no fucking clue what was in my storage facility any more.
If you have storage, neither do you.
So what if physical storage was like DropBox?
That was our thought. Inventory your items with photos, store it in physical storage, demand back items when you wanted them and only what you wanted.
My mom had called me one year before. She couldn’t find her passport. She tore the house upside down. Did she have it? Had she lost it? Or was it in that fracking storage facility off of the 52 freeway?
She drove out and looked for it. What a hassle. Turns out it wasn’t even at the storage facility.
Shouldn’t all your storage be inventoried with photos in 2013? Shouldn’t you be able to scroll through your storage facility online?
Shouldn’t the show “storage wars” be irrelevant? Ok. I’ll admit it. I’ve watched it a couple of times
That was the coffee meeting Sam and I had in New York. It was a love fest.
Within a few weeks he was an EIR in our offices in LA working on the idea.
They built the software. They researched storage solutions and logistics.
I told them “keep your head down, mouth shut and build great stuff. We’ll announce it when we believe we’ve built a V1 that is valuable and tested.”
Then competitors started to launch. They felt the stress. The first one out even won a major tech conference award.
Of course there is competition! Of course a show gave them an award! It’s a fucking brilliant idea! If no one competes THEN you should be worried.
So we stayed heads down until now.
We felt we had already built enough and learned enough to have advantages.
If you’ve ever driven to your storage facility. If you’ve ever wondered what is in your storage facility. If you’ve ever traveled to a storage facility to retrieve stuff. If you have ageing parents who have a facility.
If you’re human.
Then you get this problem.
If you can’t make time, MakeSpace. At least in NYC, for now.
I can’t conceal my enthusiasm. I am certain big solutions will be built in this space. I think Sam and team have a good shot at winning.
Now you know.
(Cross-posted @ Both Sides of the Table)