A pair of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, recently from Uber and Facebook, are the latest to jump into the expanding full-service storage industry with the launch of Trove, a new company that allows customers to schedule pick up, storage and delivery of their belongings via an app.
The company publicly launched last month in San Francisco after quietly operating for a few months in quiet beta mode. The startup is backed by an $8M Series A Round of financing from venture capital firm Greylock Partners.
Carpooling together from work in Menlo Park to their homes in San Francisco, founders Michael Pao and Jon Perlow (pictured left to right above) would brainstorm and pitch ideas for startups to each other.
But along the way one thing in particular seemed to stick out in both their minds.
“One thing that kept popping up was that there were quite a few storage warehouses between Menlo Park and San Francisco,” Pao said in an interview with the SpareFoot Storage Beat.
For example, there’s an Extra Space Space facility less than a half a mile from Facebook’s corporate headquarters where Perlow worked as a senior software engineer. Pao at the time was participating in the entrepreneur-in-residence program at Greylock Partners, after leaving his post of head of product at Uber in 2015.
Pao said they kept revisiting the conversation of how to improve the experience of storage.
“I was particularly interested because of the pain both Jon and I had experience with moving and storing. I had a baby on the way and just cleared out my second bedroom to make room for a nursery,” Pao said.
A new approach
Trove is not the first company to launch an app-powered alternative to lugging your stuff to a storage unit. MakeSpace and Clutter have emerged as major players in the full-service storage market, also known as on demand, or valet.
But Pao said Trove set out to take a different approach than other companies.
“Some of the newer companies have venture capital backers, but they take a vertically-integrated approach to it. We wanted to do something that is more of a marketplace, but with a tight grasp on the end-to-end experience,”
In other words, Trove doesn’t employ drivers or own its own warehouse space. Instead, the company connects people using the app to established professional moving companies. The movers are responsible for the packing, photographing, and the transportation process to storage facilities.
“When we looked out there, we did not see any company taking a “tech-first approach” the way that we would do it,” Pao said.
According to Trove: “Customers receive real-time notifications, track moving crews using GPS, have online inventory of all stored items, and can request them for return delivery when desired.”
The pricing starts at $100 a month minimum, which includes up to 40 square feet of storage space. Customers must store for a three month minimum. The flat rate is $2.50 per square foot for additional space.
“We offer flat rate pricing by the square foot that includes moving and packing help. The consumer would tell us what they are looking to have stored and only pay for what they store,” Pao said.
Customers can also access a catalog of their items using the app, and requests returns. While packing and pick up is free, it will cost to have your items delivered back to you.
Trove currently operates in San Francisco.