The Future of Self-Storage: Q&A With StoreMe

By Bernhard Mehl
October 25, 2018

At Kisi, we work hard every day to simplify life at the workplace—providing a seamless access experience for employees and members of any organization, while eliminating time-consuming tasks, like duplicating key cards or handing out visitor passes.

While Kisi is quickly becoming the leader in access control, we constantly evolve to simplify access of every thing. Some temporary storage companies already rely on Kisi’s technology to automate their processes, and today we chose to speak with StoreMe—a mobile app that provides a unique solution to a problem we’ve all encountered.

StoreMe offers on-demand luggage and bag storage in cities around the United States. Using the mobile app you can locate, reserve and drop your belongings in a StoreMe location—then you’re baggage-free to enjoy the city. StoreMe is available in Boston, New York, Philadelphia and D.C. Prices are on an hourly basis ($1-$2 per hour) up to $7.50 per day for a small bag and $14 for large luggage.

We interviewed StoreMe’s CEO and founder, Peter Korbel, about the future of on-demand storage and the ways he’s simplifying our day-to-day lives.

What is StoreMe?

We are a mobile app that enables our customers on-demand access to hourly or daily storage in retail stores.

How is StoreMe different from its competitors?

StoreMe is the first mobile app in the U.S. market and, as a result, we have taken a very different approach from our competitors in terms of our tech solution from the start. Compared to our competitors, our experience is simple, on-demand and customers expect a mobile app solution to their storage problem. They love our product and service. Our pricing is based on an hourly rate and whether the stored item is small or large, which has worked out very well for both customers and retail store expectations. We don’t mask the details of our retail locations until booking but treat them rather as partners and not commoditized space. With StoreMe, when customers  search for a location, they can see the actual name and pictures of the location. This has great marketing and discovery implications for the retail stores as well when customers are interfacing with our mobile app.

How does StoreMe align with the self-storage industry?

Self-storage is a $38B industry, and on-demand storage is an exciting and growing market within the larger context of the storage industry. On-demand hourly storage fills a market niche not served by traditional self-storage services. With increasing public awareness, we expect short-term storage to become part of the daily lives of residents and visitors to cities around the world. It's a win-win for customers, businesses and local communities.

What problem do you currently see? How does StoreMe solve this problem?

Visitors and residents of cities that rely heavily on public transportation and walking are burdened by their bags and luggage. It’s not easy for them to enjoy the city. I experienced this problem myself when I was lugging my gym bag from meeting to meeting and needed some place to leave it for a while. I learned quickly that there was unused space in retail stores and business owners were willing to store it for a fee. I subsequently learned that they would also like the additional walk-in business. That’s when the idea for StoreMe came to me, and I was sure that an Uber/Airbnb-type mobile app would solve the problem—and it has.

What do you envision for the future of on-demand luggage and bag storage? What are you hoping to see for StoreMe in the next year?

I think the sky's the limit for this market. StoreMe is already in New York, Boston, Washington D.C. and Philadelphia, and other cities are on the horizon. We hope to expand soon to Chicago, San Francisco and other markets quickly. I expect that with increasing market awareness, customers will use StoreMe on a regular basis and plan the days and trips recognizing that they have this convenient service. Right now, customers can drop off their items at many retail stores around a city. We anticipate that delivery will become a third leg of our business model.

How can StoreMe be used in businesses, specifically flex, coworking or shared workspaces?

One of our retail partners is Cove, a coworking space in Washington D.C., which is strategically located next to a bus drop-off location in the city. It’s been a great way to monetize unused space and marketing awareness for them. As the industry evolves, I think more coworking spaces will catch on to the service.

Why do hosts want to be part of the StoreMe network?

Most hosts like the way StoreMe monetizes underutilized space and brings them more foot traffic and potential business. As one host put it: “Doesn’t really cost me anything, I’m getting some extra cash and maybe a new customer.” They also appreciate that their businesses are advertised on the website and mobile app and not masked until a customer has made a reservation and shows up at their door. Hosts range from variety stores, visitor centers, restaurants, hotels, boutique clothing, various novelty shops, to small retail stores. They like StoreMe’s web-based administrative platform that allows them to manage their storage inventory and available space. This system facilitates the check-in and check-out process seamlessly and there’s an inventory management system to control storage capacity at one time. This system also provides security and comfort to StoreMe customers that locations have enough capacity when they show up.

Tell us about your business model.  

The business model is simple. StoreMe currently generates revenue from each storage transaction. StoreMe’s currently has a 40/60 percent split with our hosts. Eventually, StoreMe also expects to take a percentage of revenue from delivery, subscription fees for host analytics, percentage of host sales to StoreMe customers and advertising revenue.

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Phone-based systems are not just a small-business solution. CEO of Kisi, Bernhard Mehl, comments: “If you see the average of three doors connected then that might seem low but, in reality, one door relates to around 50 employees—so those are locations with about 150 people on average, including satellite offices. That’s quite significant.”

Mobile Access Control Adoption by Industry

Kisi examined which industries are investing the most in mobile access control technology. To do so, the average size of mobile access control installation projects by industry were measured. Commercial real estate topped the list with 23.5 doors running mobile access per facility. Education management came in last with 1.0 door running mobile access per facility. 

Physical Security Statistics: Mobile Access by Industry


The number of shooting incidents at K-12 schools, according to the CHDS, reached an all-time high at 97 incidents in 2018—compared to 44 in 2017. Cloud-based access control companies, like Kisi, offer a lockdown feature for active shooter situations or emergencies, making it an effective protective layer for places that are targeted, such as religious institutions, which come in near the top of the list with 4.0 doors running mobile access per facility. 

Based on industry size, it makes sense that commercial real estate tops the list, with 23.5 doors running mobile access per facility. Cloud-based access control enables these larger organizations to scale more seamlessly and allows large organizations, like telecommunications, to deploy the most manageable IT solutions available, eliminating the need to create and manage a business’s own IT infrastructure over time.

“Commercial real estate is, of course, the driver of mobile adoption since they have the largest buildings,” Mehl adds. “The key here is to show that mobile-first technologies are not a risk but an innovation that brings positive ROI and allows agencies to reposition their buildings as forward-thinking establishments.”

The scalabelilty and ease of use in onboarding an organization allows many different types of industries and businesses of different sizes to adapt a cloud-based access control system, either using keycard or mobile credentials for access. 


Mobile Access Control by State

Looking specifically at the United States, Kisi analyzed in which states companies are investing the most into upgrading to smartphone-enabled access systems. Of the currently installed base of access control readers, around 20 percent will be mobile capable by 2022, according to a recent IHS report. Cloud-based systems, like Kisi, are future-proof—allowing over-the-air updates in real time and unlimited scalability for users.


“Mobile unlock technology makes you think of the major tech hubs like New York, San Francisco or Los Angeles,” Mehl adds. “Looking at which states have the largest projects, it’s surprising and refreshing that those are not the typical ‘tech cities, and yet that’s where access control technology really makes an impact.” The fact that the largest projects are seen in states outside of the typical tech startup landscape is evidence that mobile access control is highly applicable across industry sectors.


For further questions about this study, reach out to Kait Hobson (kait@getkisi.com)

Bernhard Mehl

Bernhard is the co-founder and CEO of Kisi. His philosophy, "security is awesome," is contagious among tech-enabled companies.

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