Stellenbosch-based startup Sxuirrel, a peer-to-peer storage and space finding solution, has secured seed funding of ZAR2.4 million (US$176,000) to expand its services aggressively across South Africa.
Sxuirrel, which describes itself as the “Airbnb for storage and space solutions”, connects people who need space – “Storees” – with those who can provide it – “Listees”.
Users can store their belongings at a listing of their choosing, access their belongings when desired and only pay for the space they actually use. Users who have underutilised space can make listings of their own and turn their space. Listees and Storees have profiles that allow a peer-to-peer rating and review system.
The funding comes from a strategic partner investment holding company with interests in the storage, logistics and transport industry, in return for a minority shareholding. Sxuirrel’s current main focus area is providing a customer-centric, flexible service to the student market, but with the investment the startup is now looking to expand its services aggressively across the country, providing the go-to storage platform nationally.
“Our service is based on agility; be agile in your offering. Be specific in the solution you’re trying to solve and be focused on your customer,” said co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO) Michael-John Dippenaar.
Dippenaar co-founded the business with fellow students Henri Bam and Michael Louis after recognising the increasing demand for more affordable, accessible and flexible storage solutions, whilst studying at Stellenbosch University.
“Newly built apartments and residence rooms are getting smaller every year. With consumerism on the rise and the traditional storage solutions to our disposal outdated, we saw an opportunity ripe for disruption,” he said.
“Traditional storage options are unaffordable, inaccessible and quite frankly not a viable short-term solution for most millennials. The funding agreement is indicative of digital transformation within the US$34 billion storage industry.”
He said Sxuirrel aims to amalgamate the community industry under a single storage-associated brand, with the funding to assist in the product and platform development, as well as marketing and staffing costs.