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.

Bernhard Mehl

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