stash12Lots of people have extra space in their homes. Others want an easy and inexpensive way of storing their excess items.

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.

Stash co-founders Robert Lee Sanders, Katie Fraser and Chad Robischon.
Stash co-founders Robert Lee Sanders, Katie Fraser and Chad Robischon.

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 CEO Terry Drayton and describes itself as an “Uber for storage.”

Here’s a video showing how Stash works:

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  • Sergio

    What a great idea!

  • jdrch

    This sounds like a nice way to get arrested for possession or have the wrong type of people show up to your place looking for something.

  • Thiago

    That’s an interesting concept. I really like the idea, but it seems like the implementation would be challenging. There are a lot of liability issues that are much more easily handled with classic self storage. Thiago |

  • Terry Drayton

    Congrats on your launch Robert, Katie and Chad! Game on and we’ll let John buy the winners a beer at the Big Time!

  • Dave

    Interesting concept but this seems to be solving a problem that I don’t think exists. I know plenty of self-storage places available for reasonable prices. If you have a lot of stuff, you will get a storage unit. If you only have a couple of things, you won’t pay much to store them so hard to see how this grows. Also, most people don’t have a lot of extra storage space in their homes to rent out..particularly in an urban environment where you have people who may need to store a few things they don’t want to schlep to a storage unit in the burbs. If they have extra space, they likely don’t need the small amounts of money and the headaches that inevitably come from lending space to someone.

    Ever had a family member park their bike, an extra bed, chair, couch, whatever in your garage before? How often does that turn into headache? Does your homeowners insurance cover stuff you are storing for a fee and does if void your coverage overall as a commercial use? Seems like headaches would be amplified with strangers who may also have drugs, stolen stuff, etc, in the gear you are storing, particularly since the price point would be less than the $50 per month a storage unit costs.

    • Chad Robischon

      Hello Dave

      These are all very valid concerns. We want to make the
      process as seamless and headache free as possible. As far as extra space goes, we have been receiving quite a few emails from people very interested in renting out their extra space. We have also considered reaching out to the Landlord Associations, rental, and real-estate companies to pitch our concept. Even storage units could sign up for our website, and send offers to people that need storage. With that said, being a Stasher (someone who stores) is not for everyone. We want people who find it fun like a hobby to try and store items in their garage.

      As far as home owners insurance goes, that is a really good question that we have vetted. It does vary between agencies, but if you are not storing in a detached part of your home you should be fine. Now that won’t cover the items you are storing if your house burns down, but we offer a few solutions for the person that needs storage. With that said, we are still in early Beta and have not opened the website up to be a Stasher. When we do, we will encourage them to call their insurance agent before proceeding. We may even have to create our own insurance one day =)

      -Chad Robischon, Marketing and Social engagement at Stash

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