TechCrunch: Clutter Raising Funds (read on)

Sources: Clutter is raising $200-250M led by SoftBank for on-demand storage and moving

Marie Kondo’s rise as a cultural icon shows there’s big business to be had in sorting out a mess. And startups are also hoping to get in on the action.

TechCrunch has learned that Clutter, a storage-on-demand service that packs up, takes away, stores and returns your possessions at the click of an app, is raising between $200 million and $250 million in funding.

Sources tell us that term sheets are out but have yet to be finalised while investors go through due diligence, and that currently the plan is for the round to be led by SoftBank.

Clutter’s  CEO and co-founder Ari Mir declined to comment for this story, as did SoftBank. Other investors contacted for the story did not respond.

Clutter last raised money in 2017, when it picked up $64 million from backers that included Atomico, GV, Sequoia and Fifth Wall. Pitchbooknotes that the round was done at a $240 million post-money valuation. That could give Clutter a valuation of between $400 million and $500 million in this latest round — a figure our sources also mentioned.

Clutter currently operates in the Bay Area, Southern California, Seattle, New York and Chicago, and it’s likely that this funding could be used to help it expand to more regions.

For it and a number of its competitors, the target users are consumers based in urban areas who live in smaller spaces with less storage options; have the disposable income not only to buy stuff but to pay to keep it somewhere else; and likely already use of other app-based on-demand services for food, transport, work-space and so on, making them familiar and ready to work with startups offering the same services to manage their material possessions.

But the business of storage on demand is nothing short of, well, cluttered.

For starters, there are a lot of startups in the space angling to take on a wide array of incumbents like Public Storage, U-Haul and others that offer services to clear away your possessions and store them in lockers. In a market estimated to be worth some $40 billion annually, other hopefuls include MakeSpaceOmniTroveLivible, and Closetbox.

As with other on-demand e-commerce services like transportation, accommodation and food delivery, there is a race for economy of scale and market penetration. In the case of storage, that race includes working with or building facilities where space can be filled out in the most optimised way, as well as building the most efficient tech platform to manage the safe collection, storage and retrieval of people’s items. That’s before the human aspect of the service is considered. As with other on-demand collaborative economy startups, Clutter and its competitors rely on being able to hire the right people to get the job done well.

Clutter will be hoping that a big cash infusion will help it come out ahead in all of these areas: when and if this round closes, it will have raised more funding than the rest of its (many) startup competitors combined.

But the business of moving things is also tricky for an other reason: companies are dealing in people’s personal possessions, and so when something doesn’t go right — an item is lost or broken in the process, for example — the bad experience takes on an especially emotional angle.

Clutter may be the biggest in its category, but it has had its share of negative feedback on platforms like Yelp, Trustpilot and Twitter. It can be hard to vet the truth of all public comments, but it will be interesting to see how and if customer feedback plays a role in the company closing this round and its bigger efforts to scale.

As with other on-demand startups, there is also the fact that it can be a capital-intensive business. From what we understand, Clutter has been working on this round for a while and had to downsize last year to cut down on its burn rate.

Others in the space have been tackling liquidity in other ways that also speak to some of the shifting and experimental nature of this still-young market. Omni — a storage company that also lets people rent out their possessions while they are not using them — last year took an investment from executives at Ripple and struck a partnership with the XRP company. Now it’s offering users an option to get paid in XRP instead of cash when they rent out their items.

The fact that SoftBank is the investor name that has come up to lead this round for Clutter underscores characteristics in common with other recent SoftBank investments.

Armed with hundreds of millions of dollars to invest across the tech industry, SoftBank has developed a reputation for wading into areas of e-commerce and other tech fields crowded with competition that will likely see inevitable consolidation — and it invests in the startup that it believes will be the winner, a pattern we’ve seen at Uber, WeWork, Fair, DoorDash, Compass and many more.

If all goes to plan, SoftBank’s investment, in turn, becomes something of a self-fulfilling prophecy. It’s not just a financial boost to help the startup grow, but also — given that it’s SoftBank — a mark of confidence to other investors that the business is solid and supported for the longer haul.


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Globe Magazine Blog: Transactions and Deals by Laura Williams-Tracy

Go Store It goes island hopping

Go Store It has acquired a newly constructed storage facility located on Nantucket island in Massachusetts. This is the company’s first acquisition in the northeast. The climate-controlled facility features 672 units and 63,000 rentable square feet.

“On a personal level we are big fans of Nantucket and see the demand for quality self storage on the Island. Nantucket has significant barriers to entry, and we are very pleased to now own an institutional quality asset there,” said Ryan Hanks, founder of Go Store It.

Charlotte, North Carolina-based Go Store It finished 2018 with 13 acquisitions and delivered four new development projects. While Go Store It’s primary foot print has been in the southeast, the company is now looking to expand in select northeast markets, Texas, and the southwest. Go Store It will also begin offering third party management services in 2019.

West Coast gains WA management contract

West Coast Self-Storage Group will manage Airport Self Storage in Olympia, Washington. The facility is located at 7547 Henderson Blvd SE, just east of the Olympia Regional Airport. The storage business has been in operation since 1985 and is owned by a local private investor. It features 309 units.

West Coast Self-Storage Group is a self storage property management, acquisition, and development company headquartered in Everett, WA.  The company currently has 55 managed and owned locations with thirty-nine stores in Washington, nine stores in Oregon, and seven stores in California.

Report: New inventory drives down US rents

A new report from Yardi Matrix illustrate that recent self storage property completions put downward pressure on rents in November 2018. Overall U.S. street-rate rents for 10×10 non-climate-controlled units declined by 4.1 percent year-over-year that month while rents for climate-controlled units of similar size dropped by 2.2 percent.
Units under construction and in the planning stages currently account for 9.7 percent of the existing national inventory, a 10-basis-point increase over November, reflecting construction starts in high-demand markets. Development activity is highest in Portland, Nashville, Orlando, Seattle, and Miami.
The December 2018 report compiles data from more than 26,000 U.S. self storage properties, including more than 2,000 properties in the development pipeline.

Canadian City Halts Storage

The Vancouver, British Columbia, City Council voted unanimously in December to institute a six-month moratorium on applications for new self storage facilities in all of the city’s commercial and industrial zones where self storage is a permitted use, according to the Columbian.

The moratorium also applies to expansions of existing facilities but does not prohibit maintenance, repair or city-mandated health and safety improvements.

Elected officials said the purpose of the moratorium is to give city staff time to develop a comprehensive strategy for regulating self storage facilities, which would be incorporated into the Commercial Corridor Strategy, a package of new land-use codes that the city intends to create next year.

The city has 48 self storage businesses in operation and 11 applications for new facilities have been submitted in the past five years.

10 Federal raises money, buys in VA

10 Federal has raised $10 million toward self storage acquisitions and has purchased the Store-It-Right portfolio of two properties in Virginia.

The properties are located at 2399 Leake Square in Charlottesville, and 15142 Spotswood Trail in Ruckersville. These acquisitions mark the 9th and 10th acquisitions.

Raleigh, North Carolina-based 10 Federal will deploy its suite of technologies to support unmanned operations which includes the installation of a kiosk rental center, model unit, proprietary overlock system and extending 10 Federal’s call center services to this facility.

PA town approves new storage facility

The East Union Township Zoning Hearing Board has granted a zoning change to move forward on a planned 230-unit self storage facility in Oneida, Pennsylvania, according to the Shenandoah Sentinel. The plan must be approved by the East Union Township Planning commission.

Property owner Tyler Shustack plans to build the facility on a 6.4 acres site. Plans include six sets of storage units, as well as canopy storage for boats or other vehicles.

Moove In expands in PA

Moove In Self Storage has acquired Trans-Am Self Storage in Lititz, Pennsylvania. Built in 1980, the property at 933 Lititz Pike includes five buildings comprising 23,400 square feet in 150 units. The 3-acre property was shared with Keller Bros. Motorsports until the dealership closed in March 2018.

Moove In plans to demolish the dealership and build a three-story structure comprising 66,000 square feet of climate-controlled storage and a new rental office. Additional property improvements will include new perimeter fencing and a keypad-operated gate.

The facility will be managed by Investment Real Estate Management, LLC.

Moove In Self Storage operates 24 locations in Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.

Russell, Boyle take helm at Public Storage

On January 1, 2019, Joe Russell and Tom Boyle became chief executive officer and chief financial officer of Public Storage.

Russell has served as president at the real estate investment trust since 2016. He was previously chief executive at sister company PS Business Parks, Inc. Boyle has served as chief financial officer of operations at Public Storage since 2016 after working with the company as an investment banker at Morgan Stanley for more than a decade.

Ron Havner, the company’s chief executive officer since 2002, will remain as chairman of the board. John Reyes, the company’s chief financial officer since 1996, will join the board.

Jernigan Capital buys out development partner

Jernigan Capital Inc. has expanded its portfolio with the acquisition of its development partner’s stake in a new 105,300-square-foot, multi-story self storage facility in Bay Shore, New York, on Long Island.

Located at 1775 Fifth Ave., the CubeSmart-branded self storage facility offers 1,194 units. The climate-controlled property opened in 2017 and has a physical occupancy level of nearly 57 percent. With the closing of the transaction, self storage REIT Jernigan owns a 100 percent interest in seven on-balance sheet development investments.

ARCO/Murray completes TX facility

ARCO/Murray has completed a 123,000-square-foot self storage facility for The Jenkins Organization in Austin, Texas. ARCO/Murray provided a complete design-build solution including architectural and engineering design, permitting, construction, and final equipment. The energy efficient facility includes LED lighting throughout and an interior loading area. The façade consists of both metal panels and wood. ARCO/Murray’s Eric Fleps was the project manager, and Andrew Weiland and Dave Osborn served as the project superintendents.

ARCO/Murray Design Build is a national design build general contractor.

Tyson joins ASM in HR

Absolute Storage Management, Inc. has hired Amber Tyson as vice president of Human Resources. In her new role, Tyson will be responsible for developing and executing human resource strategy in support of ASM’s overall business plan and strategic direction of the company. She will also lead initiatives that continue to increase the company culture through the development of strategic HR plans in talent management, organizational development, performance management, and will continue to develop the policies and practices to align with ASM’s core values. Previously, Tyson worked with AlphaStaff, an HR outsourcing company, serving as an account executive to a wide variety of industries with diverse types of owners.

ASM is one of the largest, privately owned, third-party operators of self storage facilities in the United States. Founded in 2002, ASM holds its headquarters in Memphis, with regional offices in Atlanta, Charlotte, Nashville, and Jackson, Mississippi. The company operates over 85 properties in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

Developer plans Target conversion in IL

Midwest Self-storage Development LLC plans to convert a vacant Target retail store in Springfield, Illinois, into a self storage facility, according to the Springfield News-Sun.

Springfield’s city commissioners must approve a rezoning request to allow the vacant retail store to be converted. The Target closed in 2016 and was purchased by the LLC for $1.5 million in September. It’s a 105,000-square-foot building on 11 acres.

Storage sells in The Hamptons

Peconic Mini Storage, a 38,160 square foot storage facility with room for expansion located in Riverhead, New York, has sold

Charles “Chico” LeClaire, executive managing director investments, and Adam Schlosser, first vice president investments, in Marcus & Millichap’s Denver, Colorado office, had the exclusive listing to market the property on behalf of the seller, Mini Storage Companies.

“One of the interesting things about this transaction was that it was with a national REIT,” said LeClaire.  “It’s the third public REIT that we have closed within the last 30 days and the fourth of the five REITs is about ready to go under contract with us now,” he continued.  “It shows that there is still activity in this segment of the market.”

Peconic Mini Storage consists of 424 climate and non-climate controlled units.  It is located on Flanders Road servicing The Hamptons, one of the most affluent areas in the entire country and a popular weekend and summer destination for wealthy New Yorkers.

Developer plans Albany-area storage

Real estate developer Thomas Burke is proposing a four-story, 80,000-square-foot self storage facility in Glenmont, a hamlet of Bethlehem, New York, according to the Times Union of Albany.

The plan would include 18 storage spaces for boats and RVs and would be built on 1.8 acres on Chamberlain Street

Complete article here:

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Getting started in the self-storage industry by Easy Storage Solutions

Getting started in the self-storage industry can be an overwhelming experience. There are so many things to worry about when starting your own business- especially when the business comes with it’s own set of problems and prizes. There is a wealth of information and sometimes it can be difficult to sort through it. Have no fear! Easy Storage Solutions- a software vendor for the self storage industry- has created a video series that gives new owners and managers the basic information on getting started.

The series includes information on choosing the right self-storage management software, promoting your business through SEO and online marketing, and cloud access control. In addition, the series includes information about call management and accounting, tax and consulting services. The final section in the series talks about self-storage laws and maintaining compliance with them.

You can find each of the videos here:


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SiteLink Adds Out-of-the-Box Online Rental Options to its Web Template and SiteLinkStore

Click here to read press release from sitelink .

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From Inside Self Storage: Managing the Risk of Wrongful Self-Storage Lien Sale: 5 Strategies to Reduce Liability

Reducing risk name tag

Managing the Risk of Wrongful Self-Storage Lien Sale: 5 Strategies to Reduce Liability

A wrongful lien sale can occur at any self-storage facility, even when the operator has the best intentions. Follow these five important strategies to reduce your liability around auctions and keep out of legal hot water.

Scott Zucker | Sep 08, 2018

Lien sales are among the biggest contingent liabilities that loom over self-storage operators. With the unique benefit of a legally permitted “self-help” remedy to deal with delinquent tenants comes the burden of ensuring the process is handled correctly. Any misstep can turn your right to enforce a lien against a renter for non-payment into a “per se” statutory violation that subjects you to liability for damages. Following are five strategies to help you stay out of legislative trouble and reduce your wrongful-sale liability.

1. Stay Current on the Law

Get a current copy of your state lien law and make sure your rental agreement is properly updated. Over the past decade, the national Self Storage Association has partnered with self-storage operators and many state associations to modernize local lien laws. It has managed to create industry statutes in areas where none existed previously and reform older legislation. Updates have included:

  • Changes to the approved methods of communication with delinquent tenants, such as the use of e-mail in lieu of certified paper mailing
  • The right to charge late fees for delinquency
  • The ability to tow vehicles in lieu of sale
  • The ability to conduct lien sales via online platforms
  • Specific protections to limit the value of claims that can be asserted by tenants for loss or damage to their property

Due to these alternations, it’s essential to stay informed and adjust your operation to keep pace with the statutory rules. This includes amending your rental agreement to match the letter of the law. For example, in certain states, if the limitation-of-liability provision isn’t in bold type or underlined, it would be unenforceable. Even without state changes, it’s extremely important to review and update your agreement every few years to consider applicable case decisions or strategies to reduce potential liability in areas other than lien enforcement.

2. Ask About Military Status

When tenants rent with you, ask if they’re active-duty military, or the spouse or dependent of someone else who is. Your lien right can be blocked if the customer is granted certain federal protections, such as those in the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). In part, this law provides that if a tenant is active-duty military (which includes the reserves), or the spouse or dependent of someone who is, you can’t enforce your lien without getting court approval. This means that instead of simply sending notices and publishing advertisements before the sale, you must file an action with the local court to obtain permission to sell.

The risk of selling while someone is covered under SCRA is why many self-storage operators have had to update their rental agreements. For example, Michigan law provides that rental agreements must include the following language:

IF YOU ARE A MEMBER OF THE ARMED FORCES, A RESERVE BRANCH OF THE ARMED FORCES OR THE MICHIGAN NATIONAL GUARD, TENANT MUST PROVIDE WRITTEN NOTICE TO OWNER. If you are a Service Member, and you are transferred or deployed overseas on active duty for a period of 180 days or more, you may notify the Owner of the transfer or deployment. The Tenant shall provide written evidence of the transfer or deployment with the notice. Upon notice, Tenant is entitled to protections under governing law staying the enforcement of the Owner’s lien

Some states also require you to add SCRA verbiage to your lien letters and notices. For example, Texas law requires that operators add “a statement underlined or printed in conspicuous bold print requesting a tenant who is in military service to notify the lessor of the status of the tenant’s current military service immediately.”

If you know or discover that your tenant is in the military, or is the spouse or dependent of someone who is, at any time during the lien process, don’t proceed.

3. Follow State Requirements

Make sure your lien notices and advertisements are correct and sent pursuant to the timeline stated in your state statute. Part of every lien process is the obligation to send at least one notice to the delinquent tenant notifying him that he’s in default and indicating his right to cure. Similarly, there’s typically the duty to notify the public of the lien sale (which should permit the tenant to receive a secondary notice) to entice potential buyers.

Not only must the content of these letters and advertisements be correct, they must be sent according to a specific schedule. One process must occur before the other, and certain periods must be observed between each step. This is generally where most mistakes occur. Either the facility operator fails to include all the required elements in the lien notice, or the required timeframe isn’t given for the tenant to “cure” his delinquency before the next step in the process.

4. Trust Your Instincts

Forget all the legal stuff for a second. Not all delinquency cases are the same. Sometimes you have a tenant with a unique story or come across unusual property when inspecting a unit. Perhaps there’s something out of place that makes you wonder whether the sale would be appropriate. With special circumstances, you may have a gut feeling that you just shouldn’t sell.

Well, trust your instincts! Once you sell a unit, it’s almost impossible to turn back the clock and recover the property or replace the items that were removed. So, if you hear from a tenant about a specific circumstance that prevents him from paying rent or retrieving his property, or you observe something in the unit that appears out of the ordinary, remember that you have the choice not to sell even though you may have the legal right to do.

Don’t feel pressured to move forward with a sale, even if you’ve completed all the required steps in the lien process. Even bidders who choose to attend your auction can’t insist that the sale be conducted. To protect yourself, include in all your advertisements that the sale is “With Reserve,” meaning you can pull the unit at any time. At worse, you may only have to restart the process and wait another 30 to 60 days to sell. Sometimes, it may be worth the postponement.

5. Carry the Right Insurance, in Sufficient Amounts

Make sure you have sufficient sale-and-disposal insurance. At the end of the day, no matter the circumstances or your good intentions, there’s still a risk that a sale can go wrong. Mistakes are simply a part of doing business. It could be that a unit is sold without full compliance with the applicable statute, or perhaps a payment was incorrectly applied and an innocent tenant’s unit was sold. If these actions aren’t intentional or malicious, sale-and-disposal coverage can help mitigate the damages.

The amount of coverage you need may depend on the number of units at your facility, the level of experience of your site managers, the percentage of delinquencies that occur at the property, and whether you’re using a professional management company. Since the potential for a wrongful sale is a risk of the self-storage business, you need insurance, even if the coverage you purchase is limited.

It’s important to understand that sale-and-disposal insurance isn’t generally included in a standard, commercial general-liability policy. Self-storage is a unique business, so you must talk to your insurance agent about the types of specialized coverages you need.

Scott Zucker is a partner in the law firm Weissmann Zucker Euster Morochnik & Garber P.C. in Atlanta, which specializes in business litigation with an emphasis on real estate, landlord-tenant and construction law. He’s a frequent speaker at self-storage industry events, author of “Legal Topics in Self Storage: A Sourcebook for Owners and Managers,” first and second editions, and a partner in the Self Storage Legal Network, a subscription-based legal service for storage owners and managers. He’s also the deputy general counsel for the Self Storage Association. For more information, e-mail; visit

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Getting Started in The Self Storage Industry – Easy Storage Solutions

Easy Storage Solutions wants to help those who are starting in the self-storage industry but aren’t exactly sure where to start. We also want to help those who don’t know exactly what needs to be done in order to be effective, competitive and profitable. In this video series we will introduce you to our key elements of successfully running a self-storage business. 

Clicking into the link provided will bring you to a series of videos featuring some great knowledge:

If you have any questions or comments about any of Easy Storage Solutions’ services please give us a call at 888-958-5967 or email us at 

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Written by: Bill Ford

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