LOVESPACE, once based at Workspace Kennington and now based at 60 Gray's Inn Road, is the first storage-by-the-box company in the UK and has the impressive aim of ‘disrupting the £1bn storage industry’.
Their service is pretty simple and they want to make your life simple too: LOVESPACE collect your things from your door, store them in a secure warehouse and return them whenever and wherever you want in the UK.
The company was founded in 2012, by Brett Akker, one of the co-founders of Streetcar who was soon joined by the MD, Steve, then director of strategy at the Guardian.
LOVESPACE recently raised £1.6m on Crowdcube and was named as one of the UK’s most exciting new companies. They’ve even made it into the Daily Mail for offering a secret duplicate storage facility for new and nervous cohabiters. Their Marketing Director Hannah told us a little more about what their story, how they raised funds and what the future means for them.
How do you see the next few years panning out at Workspace?
It’s only been a week since we’ve arrived, but we already love being here. Currently, we have a medium size, third-floor office with a very nice balcony and, if it all goes according to plan, then who knows, maybe one day we’ll occupy the whole of the third floor!
What do you look for in an office space and in a landlord like Workspace?
When we were looking for new office space, we prioritised trying to find somewhere with good transport links, competitive rates and an accommodating landlord. Workspace offers all of this and more. What won us over was the innovative and dynamic atmosphere of the Kennington office space – not forgetting some tasty local eateries.
Can you tell us a bit about how you were funded?
LOVESPACE was initially funded by the founder of the business, Brett Akker, along with other experts from the world of storage and Private Equity firm, Smedvig Capital. Recently the company has won much acclaim, for raising £1.6m via the online investment network, Crowdcube. We went in looking for £600,000, but instead managed to raise an additional £1m of capital, pulling in funds from consumers, angels such as Humphrey Cobbold, the former CEO of Wiggle, and even the VC backing of DN Capital.
What advice would you give regards looking for funding?
Don’t rule out any avenues, look at traditional/ new platforms/ use your network. Write a solid business plan and consider what type of investor you are looking for – someone who is hands on with lots of experience and contacts who will be well placed to advise? Or using something like Crowdcube to reach large numbers of investors.
What were the benefits of the alternative funding model?
As well as being an easy to use and effective funding platform, Crowdcube gave us great exposure to a wider audience, helping to raise interest and hype around the company. It’s also given us a great support network, with a large number of contacts and knowledge pool.
Are you going to have to consider raising more money? Will you try a different approach?
Due to the success of our recent round of funding, we won’t be looking to raise more money anytime soon – although, with potential plans to expand internationally, this situation may change. Crowdcube was a great success, but when the time comes for further funding we’ll have to review our options depending on the amount of money we would need to raise. We’re always open to new and innovative ways of fund raising and believe that the growth of online investment platforms makes it a very interesting space for any business looking to expand.
Where do you see LOVESPACE in a year's time? In three years’ time?
Where’s LOVESPACE going in the future? To quote another great space man – “to infinity and beyond!” Our plans in the short term are to grow aggressively and engage more deeply with our customer segments in the UK. Although it’s no secret that one day we’d love to expand internationally. As our founder, Brett Akker, said, ‘There’s an awful lot still to achieve, there’s an awful lot of growth still to be had but it’s definitely a very exciting time.’
Could you describe your new office? What's your office luxury?
Third floor, with a shared balcony, very airy and light – and a massive improvement compared to our last space down in South Wimbledon. We’ve just ordered our office luxury, although its arrival is meant to be a surprise for the rest of the team. Still, between you and me, it might just be a pool table (Shhhh!)
Find more about what LOVESPACE do and follow them on Twitter.