Storage startup Boxhug takes inspiration from the digital and brings it into the physical world to solve that recurring problem of those constantly on the move: what to do with all your stuff. If you need proof that the company’s onto something, they recently won Virgin Media’s ‘Pitch to Rich’ startup competition—you can have worse backers than Richard Branson.
Founder Igor Rubets, originally from Ukraine, told me the idea for Boxhug came, like so many good ones, from his own experience schlepping his belongings around the UK as he moved house for studies and work.
“I had to go back and forth to the self-storage facilities all the time, which was a messy and tiresome process with lots of hassle of getting a van, buying boxes, wrapping tapes and then finding the actual time to get to the storage place,” he said. “So one evening after another crazy trip to self-storage facilities, I got frustrated about the whole experience and thought that there should be a better way to store and manage your personal stuff.”
His Boxhug solution was influenced by the idea of cloud computing, and he sees it as “cloud storage for your physical stuff.” The Boxhug system is simple: They deliver plastic packing boxes, you fill them up, and they collect and store them until you want them back. Because you’re charged for the boxes you use, rather than having to rent a whole storage unit, you only pay for the space you need. Not to mention the door-to-door delivery makes it quick, convenient, and devoid of heavy lifting.
The company is still in its early stages at less than a year old, and Rubets said the main challenge so far was to build a team capable of putting together a top-quality web app for the service. They get revenue from the storage fees, delivery and advertising charges, and are now looking to improve and expand.
With the £5,000 investment they won from the pitching competition, they aim to break out into new cities (they started out in Derbyshire), with plans for marketing and customer acquisition. I noted that it was quite unusual to see a startup with a strong tech side but that also dealt with “actual stuff,” to which Rubets responded that, “Having both tech and physical elements in one concept makes a service very unique, distinctive and easier to promote and scale online and offline.”
By Vicki Turk (follow her on Twitter here)
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