Startup Spotlight: Roost Is the Airbnb For Storage


As the cofounder of Whttl, I’ve personally reviewed hundreds of sharing economy startups. By now, the concept of capitalizing otherwise idle resources is certainly a tried-and-true play. Titans of industry have become household names in their respective spaces. There’s Airbnb, which lets you rent out your home to other people. Getaround and RelayRides can connect you with privately owned cars for rent. On Whttl, we’ve even got five different startups that will allow you to sail the open seas on a rented boat.

A new entrant is running onto the proverbial playing field, and we have just listed them on our Moving & Storage page. Introducing Roost, a peer-to-peer marketplace for self-storage.

The self-storage industry is evidently a large one, with billions in consumer spend up for grabs. The industry has long been dominated by storage facilities that are lonely, dark, and genuinely a little bit sketchy. Despite that, they’re expensive and rarely centrally located. (Land isn’t cheap in urban areas, so they tend to be located in less expensive outskirts of town.) To move anything to and fro requires a rental truck or trailer, adding to the already hefty cost.

Roost has set out to provide a better, more affordable, and more convenient way to store your goods. How exactly? Simple! Store your stuff in your neighbor’s extra space in a basement, garage, attic, or shed. Store a bike. Store a few boxes. You can even store (or park) your car. On the other end, if you happen to be lucky enough to have extra space yourself, you can score some cash by renting it out. After all, in marketplaces like these, it takes two to tango.

Once on the Roost website, you can search for storage by location, size of the available space. In addition, you can search by kind of access you’d like. (Do you need round-the-clock access, or it is OK if you are required to let the owner of the space know 48 hours in advance?)

Hosts maintain profiles with information about them, including public ratings and reviews. This gives renters a level of trust and safety when leaving their stuff in another person’s house. Renters can rest easy knowing that hosts are background checked to ensure that they’re not going to steal the goods or “cherry pick” through them. Roost even includes an insurance policy to cover anything that is broken, gets stolen, or goes MIA.

As users are probably accustomed to by now, the platform handles all payments and deposits, including those for for long-term rentals. Roost is launching only in the San Francisco Bay Area, but the company hopes to use its hometown as a test area before opening up into other major urban markets like Washington, D.C., Seattle, New York City, Boston, and Chicago.

Follow the company on our Storage & Moving page to get notified when they launch in your neck of the woods.

If you found value in this, it would be tremendous if you scrolled down a little further and hit the “Recommend” button.

Greg Muender is the founder of Whttl, described as the “Kayak.com for startups.” Use it to find the sweet startups that have launched in your ZIP code and thus, #winatlife. Drop Greg a line via greg<at>whttl/dot/com or check him out on Twitter.


Originally published at blog.whttl.com on January 14, 2015.

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