In its bid to become the largest internet conglomerate in the world outside of China and the US, another Rocket Internet backed startup officially launches into the Australian market today aiming to take a slice of the country’s $752 million self-storage market.
German founded startup SpaceWays has chosen Sydney as its fifth market to launch in, having spent the last couple of months organising warehousing space and implementing the correct infrastructure so it has the ability to scale quickly.
The startup was founded by a trio who have known each other for over a decade; David Fuchs, Martin Twellmeyer and Rob Rebholz had always said they wanted to launch a company together. Unlike many other Rocket Internet backed startups, the three founders are actually the founders according to Rebholz. The company is well known for ‘recruiting’ founders to join startups as opposed to the founders actually coming up with and creating the original idea.
It should be noted though that in the case of SpaceWays, Rocket Internet has still commanded a considerable percentage of the company with the three founders and the ecommerce juggernaut sharing an equal slice of the pie four ways.
Fuchs, Twellmeyer and Rebholz all seem to meet the typical criteria that Rocket Internet has become famous for investing in, mostly men, with backgrounds in investment or management consulting and in the case of Fuchs experience working within another Rocket Internet startup in a different market overseas. Having said that, this formula has catapulted Rocket Internet into becoming one of the most globally successful companies on the Frankfurt stock exchange with a market capitalisation of over $8 billion.
It’s also worth noting that Rocket Internet founder Oliver Samwar does not consider his company an incubator or accelerator. He was very specific and pointed when asked the question at last year’s Digital Life Design Conference in Munich that his company was a platform “backed by a methodical process repeated over and over” . Whilst it could be argued that is pretty much the same definition as an incubator or accelerator, Samwar said that he prefers Rocket Internet to be known as a platform.
SpaceWays, having already proven itself to be a successful part of that platform in the markets of London, Paris, Chicago and Toronto, is one of the startups within Rocket Internet’s portfolio that seems to be rapidly growing attracting an interesting mix of both consumer and business based clientele.
The startup is a web based system with an offline delivery and pickup component. Basically, SpaceWays lets users store items they don’t have the room for in a simple and seamless way. Whether it’s old books, clothes or even business documents and files that legal and accountancy firms need to keep for a set period of time, SpaceWays caters for all types. The company’s signature heavy-duty storage containers are dropped off for free to users and then are picked up – again for free for up to eight containers – when filled and ready for storage.
Naturally, when it comes to storage of documents for business, one has to question the security methods the startup employs to guarantee that possible sensitive documents or belongings are not tampered with. Rebholz told Startup Daily that security was important and front and centre of everything the company does.
“The items that people store with us usually have a high emotional value, or they have a high value because they might be business documents that [the customer] can’t lose. So our warehouses are not accessible to the public, we have a pretty sophisticated warehouse management system that we use around the world and we have CCTV monitoring systems as well” he said.
Whilst traction is evident around SpaceWays, the company – like all startups that Rocket Internet is involved with – refused to talk about company valuation, users or revenue. What we do know is that currently there are five warehouses with a capacity to hold between 10,000 to 50,000 boxes each. This means that, just based on the $9.90 monthly storage fee per box without taking into consideration any other fees or services that based on one Sydney warehouse SpaceWays revenue potential would be between $99,000 and $495,000 a month.
Currently SpaceWays has 30 employees worldwide and is sharing Australian headquarters with fellow Rocket Internet startup Shopwings that has also recently launched into the Australian market.