We all know how cumbersome trying to find affordable storage space can be, and this can prove even more challenging if you are trying to find somewhere nearby. This is where Stashbee comes to the rescue! The mission of their startup is to provide a marketplace that makes it easy and hassle-free to find trusted storage hosts nearby, and with no hidden fees. We spoke with the co-founder David Mantle, about his inspiration, experience and possible challenges running Stashbee.
What was the inspiration behind Stashbee?
The inspiration for Stashbee came from a shared frustration at not being able to easily find affordable storage space nearby. After not being able to find anywhere local to store my bike, I ended up building my own shed – which seemed quite excessive, especially in the sharing economy era! My co-founder, Anthony, had a similar situation and felt frustrated at the complexity of comparing prices and struggled to find somewhere that wasn’t awkward to travel to. We both thought that there must be someone nearby with unused space and wondered if there was a simple way to find and connect with those people. There wasn’t, and so the idea for Stashbee was born!
What are the founders’ work backgrounds prior to starting Stashbee?
We have a similar background in Management and Technology Consulting. I spent several years in management consultancy, working with the likes of Jaguar Land Rover launching their Connected Car Service, InControl. Anthony has a background in technology consultancy, and he used to help clients like ITV and TUI Travel navigate technology change.
What was the process of starting a business like for the Stashbee founders? Any surprising challenges that came up?
As soon as we had the idea, we started working on Stashbee from an attic bedroom to build some of the foundations for getting the business up and running. In the early days, you have to do lots of heavy lifting e.g. going out yourself and flyering areas. We got picked up by a bunch of press (The Sun, Times and Daily Mail) all on the same day, which drove masses of traffic and 1000’s of signup. This really proved to us that we were onto something. We raised funding one year later and started to hire developers and a customer team, continuing to grow Stashbee from there. I’d say the most challenging part of getting started is having to balance funding, finding great people and running the business.
What makes Stashbee different from its competitors?
Stashbee is a marketplace, so we don’t own any physical premises. Instead, we see ourselves as the single place where people can find, compare and book storage space and long-term parking. The main difference with Stashbee is that it gives people and businesses an easy way to monetise their empty space. In that way, Stashbee is supporting the rise of micro-entrepreneurs whilst also enabling small businesses and existing self-storage companies to utilise their spare capacity.
Is there anything the founders wish they knew before starting Stashbee?
Don’t underestimate both the challenge and the positive impact of hiring great people. It’s more tricky and takes longer than you think, but the positive impact on your business of finding the right people is incredible.
What does the future look like for Stashbee, plans for expansion?
To put it simply, we’re on a mission to become the number one destination for finding and booking storage space. At the same time, we want to continue to support our Hosts to make the most of their empty space. Our plan is to continue to grow and scale Stashbee across the UK and globally, whilst maintaining our 5-star Trustpilot score and delivering fantastic customer experience.
What piece of advice would Stashbee give someone looking to start a business in this industry?
When starting a business in any industry, it’s vital that you take the time to truly understand your customers and who they are. It’s important to know which specific problems you’re trying to solve, and then remain focussed on building a product/service that matches those specific problems. In the early stages of Stashbee, Anthony and I got to know our customers by helping them clean and take photos of their spaces. This really taught us what our customers wanted and how best to serve them.