New York startup Vertoe raises $1.85 million to grow its on-demand short-term storage for travelers
Vertoe, the on-demand short-term storage startup, has raised $1.85 million in seed funding to use to expand its service into new markets. The latest round was led by Ingwe Capital, with participation from ff Venture Capital, Techstars (Vertoe is a NYC Winter 2018 Program graduate), and several angel investors.
The New York City-based Vertoe was founded in late 2016 as a weekend experiment after the founders, Sid Khattri and Neha Kesarwani, experienced their own short-term storage problem. “A couple of years ago, Neha and I were on a multi-city West Coast trip, with LA being our final stop,” says Khattri, CEO at Vertoe. “After checking out of our Airbnb, what was supposed to be a super exciting day where we were going to explore LA turned into a complete nightmare when we got stuck lugging around three suitcases for six hours.” A former Google employee, Khattri figured technology could play a part in solving this problem. “Our goal with Vertoe is to provide instant access to affordable storage within five minutes of wherever you are,” says Khattri.
With a play on the latin word “Verto,” meaning transformation, Vertoe is transforming the short-term storage industry by helping people store their bags and personal items for a few hours or days at local shops and small businesses. Like Airbnb, Vertoe operates as a marketplace and aims to make unused space accessible in a way that benefits consumers and small business owners alike.
Vertoe is focused on creating more space in ever-expanding cities by solving the problem caused by a lack of short-term storage solutions in the market. Vertoe offers multiple affordable and convenient luggage storage locations close to major transit areas and key tourist spots. Vertoe launched in New York City in 2017 and has since expanded to Boston, Philadelphia and Washington DC. Over the past 18 months, Vertoe has partnered with hundreds of small businesses and stored more than 70,000 bags.
Consumers can book a Vertoe storage solution online via the company’s website or its mobile app. Users simply enter a street address for the area in which they’d like to store their luggage, as well as their preferred drop-off and pick-up date and time, and Vertoe will display the locations nearby that fit their needs. Bags are stored by businesses using a uniquely coded tamper-proof seal provided free by the storage location. With 150+ locations and growing, Vertoe offers flat price for all bag sizes and $3000 insurance coverage on your stored items, for every booking. All storage locations have been vetted, verified and trained by the company. Pricing starts at $5.95 per day, with discounts for weekly or monthly rentals.
“It was not just that in a short period Vertoe has grown to hundreds of locations and multiple cities, but also that the problem they are solving is far bigger than we realized,” says John Frankel, founding partner of ff Venture Capital. “What we have learned from our research is that there is a huge unmet need in the market for easy and affordable short-term storage, and we wanted to part of Vertoe’s journey.”