Stash, a new Seattle startup launching in beta today, hopes to be a middleman between the home owners and those with belongings.
Stash is yet another startup jumping in the sharing economy, where companies help people make money off items or extra space they already own (Airbnb with bedrooms, Lyft with cars).
At its core, the company lets people use space in stranger’s homes as an alternative to storage units. The idea is to allow users to purchase just enough storage space that is necessary — for example, you may not need to rent an entire storage garage for a bicycle.
The system is simple. Those looking for space — “Packers” — simply take a picture of the items, post them on Stash, and then set a price and time length (minimum one week). From there, those with extra space — “Stashers” — can filter offers by zip code and see all items that need to be stored. “Stashers” can then send a picture of their available space and the “Packer” can approve the offer.
One problem with these peer-to-peer companies that involve two strangers and a money exchange is safety — startups like Lyft and Airbnb have certainly dealt with this. Stash said that safety is its biggest priority and vets each “Stasher” through social media accounts. It also educates customers on proper storage practices and has plans for an internal insurance system, along with a rating/review mechanism.
The idea for Stash was first created at a Startup Weekend in July 2013. There are five founders: Katie Fraser, Chad Robischon, Robert Sanders, Aaron Goff, and Sharath Udupa. The company recently won “Best Marketplace Idea,” at the University of Washington Business Plan Competition.
Stash is similar to a few other new Seattle storage startups that launched last summer. Stowthat features an online marketplace to match those in need of storage space with those who have extra room in their garages and calls itself the “Airbnb of self-storage.”
Then there’s Storrage, a personalized delivery service that picks up items and stores them in a warehouse. The company was founded by former HomeGrocer.com CEO Terry Drayton and describes itself as an “Uber for storage.”
Here’s a video showing how Stash works: