Self-Storage Startup Adds A Social Element To Sharing Space
Neighbor uses social algorithms to build a trusted peer-to-peer platform that lets people rent out extra storage space
Since the advent of services like Airbnb and Uber, the sharing economy has exploded with activity. The latest entry is a simple one: renting storage from people with extra space. Neighbor, a startup based in Salt Lake City, raised $2.5 million in seed funding to improve and market its peer-to-peer self-storage platform.
The basics of this sharing platform aren’t much different than the others we’ve seen. Those with extra space will post it to the app or website, and those in need of a shared space will go online to find one that fits their needs.
The hope is that this style of self-storage will be more affordable than traditional self-storage solutions, in addition to making it a little easier for users to access their things when they need them. It also provides the perfect platform for those in need of a little extra income with minimal effort.
Co-founder Preston Alder said that he had the idea for Neighbor when he decided to store his things at a friend’s house instead of a storage unit during a summer internship.
“On the two hour drive to a friend’s house who had agreed to store his stuff, he realized there were probably a lot of people with extra storage space who lived closer that would agree to store his stuff for the summer—he just didn’t know how to find them,” co-founders Joseph Woodbury and Colton Gardner told TechCrunch.
To build trust and minimize the risk of loss or damage to people’s property, Neighbor uses two APIs on Facebook, Graph API and All Mutual Friends to create a social connection between users of the platform. When someone is in need of storage, they can log into the app with their Facebook information. Users click on “store with a friend,” and it will show which of their friends or mutual friends are hosts on the Neighbor platform.
By linking these services together, users can get somewhat more acquainted with their storage hosts before bringing their things over. Neighbor also has other security measures in place, including copies of a government-issued ID for all hosts and the possibility of running a background check.
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