Terry Drayton, the co-founder and former CEO of HomeGrocer.com, the heavily-funded online grocery delivery service whose iconic peach rotted during the dot-com bust, is gearing up to launch his latest startup.
And this one brings back some memories of the HomeGrocer.com days.
The Bellevue company is called Storrage, and it is described as a “new concept in personal storage.” Drayton — who has not only battled back from the failure of HomeGrocer.com but also another startup mess at Count Me In — isn’t saying much right now about the specifics of the company.
“Much fun, stealth, but launch next month,” said Drayton in a short and somewhat cryptic email. Drayton’s profile on LinkedIn offers a few more details, noting that Storrage is allowing for home delivery and pick up of personal items. That’s a bit reminiscent of HomeGrocer.com, which also specialized in delivery, just fresh produce and other grocery items. (Drayton also ran one of Canada’s largest bottled water companies, which also included a large delivery component).
But in Drayton’s description on LinkedIn, Storrage sounds a bit more like a next-generation Public Storage or Shurgard Self Storage. (Interestingly, the former CEO of Shurgard, Charles Barbo, previously served on the board of HomeGrocer.com).
“After looking at a number of existing and new business opportunities, surprise, surprise, I’ve decided to do another start-up! Storrage is the next generation in offsite physical storage of personal items with home delivery and pick-up. Simple, convenient and inexpensive its smartphone app enabled and a B2C play targeting urban apartment and condo dwellers plus downsizing baby boomers. We will be franchising with ex-military veterans for a rapid, national roll-out. What’s particularly great is getting to work again with some of the wonderful team from HomeGrocer.com!
We discovered the company through a SEC filing, which indicated that Storrage has raised $500,000 of a $1.5 million round.
Drayton certainly is no stranger to raising large sums of cash. At HomeGrocer.com, he raised $385 million from the likes of Madrona, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, former Netscape CEO Jim Barksdale, Liberty Media, Martha Stewart and Amazon.com. The company, which at its peak had more than 2,500 employees spread across nine cities, went public in March 2000 and then sold to Webvan three months later in an all-stock deal for $1.1 billion.
Of course, the Webvan stock was next to worthless as it filed for bankruptcy about a year after the purchase of HomeGrocer.com. Interestingly, a number of the people with roots at Webvan have reportedly emerged at Amazon Fresh, the online grocery delivery service which is now expanding to California after five years of tests in the Seattle area.
In my past interviews with Drayton, he’s shown a burning desire to get back into the home delivery business, retrying his hand in the logistically challenging business after learning from the mistakes of HomeGrocer.com. (One of the biggest being to expand more conservatively, a challenging proposition during the heady days of the dot-com boom when the mantra of Get Big Fast ruled the day).
Amazon has already corned the market on delivering new products to your doorstep. Could Storrage be Drayton’s attempt to deliver the stuff you already own?
Whatever happens, this one will be fun to watch.