MakeSpace Raises $55M for its Affordable and Flexible On-Demand Storage Solution

In 2012, Rahul Gandhi was living in Brooklyn when Hurricane Sandy hit. The amount of destruction and flooding required the need for temporary storage. That experience led to the founding of MakeSpace with the mission to change the complex, expensive, and labor-intensive experience of self-storage. Fast forward to today and MakeSpace is now available in 31 markets across North America, with over 30,0000 customers and has raised a total of $ 142.6M across seven rounds. Gandhi shares more about the impressive journey and future plans…
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Bolt, the European on-demand transport company, raises $109M on a $1.9B valuation

Bolt, a rival to Uber and others providing on-demand ridesharing, scooters and other transportation services across some 150 cities in Europe and Africa, is today announcing another capital raise as it weathers a difficult market climate where, because of COVID-19, many are staying in place and avoiding modes of transport that put them into contact with others.

The Estonia-based company is today announcing that it has picked up an additional €100 million ($ 109 million) in a convertible note. Bolt also confirmed that is now valued at €1.7 billion (or nearly $ 1.9 billion at today’s rates).

The money is coming from a single investor, Naya Capital Management, which was also a major backer of the company in its last round, a $ 67 million Series C in July 2019.

The funding is one more example of how investors are continuing to support their most promising, and/or most capitalised, portfolio companies as they face drastic losses of business during the COVID-19 pandemic, which can only be more complicated for a startup built on a business model that — even in the best of times — is very capital-intensive.

Before this round, in April we were hearing that Bolt was running out of runway and that they were in discussion also with the Estonian government — a big supporter of the country’s tech industry — to underwrite debt in the company.

Bolt has confirmed that this whole funding is in the form of a convertible note (that is, debt), with no additional equity at this point. “We have no plans that we can discuss at the moment,” a spokesperson said, so it sounds like a further equity round is something it’s working on regardless, given these take more time to close.

Bolt — which says it has 30 million users in over 35 countries globally — says that the worst of the lull in business was two months ago and that it’s been slowly recovering since. A spokesperson said that the company was closing in on breakeven at the end of last year, and it was preparing an equity round “mostly for food delivery and micromobility.”

Now, the picture is somewhat different, with ride-hailing and recovery measures putting more financial need into the business model.

Altogether, however, the company is still on the relatively smaller side when it comes to capital raise for its on-demand transportation model. Bolt has now raised over €300 million including debt and equity, with other investors including Nordic Ninja — a new fund out of Helsinki backed by a number of Japanese LPs to invest in Northern European startups (Bolt is based out of Tallinn) — Creandum, G Squared, Invenfin (a fund out of South Africa backed by investment holding company Remgro) and Superangel, a fund out of Estonia that has been backing the startup since its earliest days, as well as Didi (and, by association, SoftBank and Uber), Daimler, Korelya Capital and Spring Capital.

Formerly known as Taxify, Bolt rebranded last year as it expanded beyond private car rides into other areas like electric scooters and food delivery — and the plan will be to use this funding to expand all three business areas in the coming months, along with newer product categories like Business Delivery in-city same-day courier services and Bolt Protect for people to continue to use its ride-hailing services by kitting out cars with plastic sheeting between driver and passenger seats.

Uber, Bolt’s publicly traded business rival, has laid bare just how painful the pandemic has been for business. The company, which had raised billions of dollars as a privately-backed startup, has laid off nearly 7,000 employees in recent weeks, and while we currently have little visibility of the impact this has had on the contractors Uber engages to move people, food and other items in its network, its next quarterly earnings (which will cover the full brunt of the pandemic) should more clearly spell out the drop-off in overall business.

Bolt notes that so far, it hasn’t had to let people to as Uber and others have, and while it doesn’t go into financial details, it does acknowledge that business is not business as usual.

“Even though the crisis has temporarily changed how we move, the long-term trends that drive on-demand mobility such as declining personal car ownership or the shift towards greener transportation continue to grow,” said Markus Villig, CEO and co-founder, in a statement.

“We are happy to be backed by investors that look past the typical Silicon Valley hype and support our long term view. I am more confident than ever that our efficiency and localisation are a fundamental advantage in the on-demand industry. These enable us to continue offering affordable transportation to millions of customers and the best earnings for our partners in the post-COVID world.”

A lot of people have talked about how fundraising has become more complicated in the current climate. Not only are founders and investors not able to meet in person and get more embedded in evaluating an opportunity, but many are unable to see what the future will hold in terms of market demand and the overall economy, making the bets all the more laden with risk.

That’s left a lot of the activity spread between startups that are seeing business lift precisely because of present circumstances; startups that have businesses that are continuing to enjoy a lot of trade despite present circumstances; and startups that are strong enough (or already so highly capitalised) that investors want to support them to make sure they don’t go under. More typically, startups that are securing funding are falling into more than one of the above categories, as is the case with Bolt.

“We are delighted to have the opportunity to invest in Bolt at this stage in the company’s growth story,” Masroor Siddiqui, managing partner, CIO and founder of Naya Capital Management, said in a statement. “Under Markus’ leadership, Bolt has established itself as one of the most competitive and innovative players in global mobility. We believe that Bolt is helping drive a fundamental change in how consumers interact with the transport infrastructure of their cities and look forward to the company’s continued execution on its strategic vision.”

Update: Bolt confirmed after we published that this is actually all in the form of a convertible note, so this is not a Series D. Also updated with more information about the state of the business.

Startups – TechCrunch

Step-by-step Guide for On-Demand Delivery Services for Groceries?

Hi all,

I was wondering if there's any guide for On-Demand Delivery Services for Groceries that has information and guidance about what do I need to do in order to start my business up and running (like iOS/Android app for the consumer, delivery representative and the grocery store, the company structure, legal affairs, budget etc)?

Tried to google but I mostly found either for Food/Restaurant on-demand delivery service, or simply statistics about them.

submitted by /u/iHairy
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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

On-demand storage startup MakeSpace picks up another $55M

Sheltering-in-place and working from home curing COVID-19 has driven many of us to reorganize and de-clutter our living environments, and today one of the startups that is capitalizing on that trend is announcing a large round of funding to continue its growth. MakeSpace, an on-demand storage company that makes it easy to order, store and retrieve your physical belongings (also providing the muscle — that is, people — to help you do it), has closed a $ 55 million round — $ 45 million in equity funding and $ 10 million in debt — led by Iron Mountain, an existing investor and strategic partner whose primary focus is storage for larger businesses.

The funding is notable in part because of its size, but also because of the fact that it has happened at all.

On-demand storage startups have sprung up all over the world, hopeful that their new take on an antiquated, fragmented and valuable ($ 38 billion annually spent on storage) market would lead to big returns in a brave, new, Uberified world. But in reality, we’ve seen a lot of ups and downs, with various startups merging, closing, transferring and trying to pivot in the process. That’s left a consolidated space with fewer, hopefully better capitalised and better organised, competitors remaining. (Another biggie in this area is Clutter, backed by SoftBank and others, which has also been on a consolidation play as part of its growth.)

MakeSpace looks like it’s making a successful play to be in that group. This is a Series E for the startup — with other investors in the round including 8VC, Upfront Ventures, Maywic Select Investments, Ten Eighty, Provenio Capital, and CX Collective — and co-founder and CEO Rahul Gandhi said was at “a premium” to the valuation MakeSpace had in the last round of funding (a Series D that closed last year), without confirming either the previous or current numbers.

For some more context, PitchBook details what seems to have been a rollercoaster of valuations for the startup, which if accurate underscore some of those obvious challenges in this market. Update: Gandhi confirmed that the startup has now raised about $ 150 million and the valuation is higher than that.

MakeSpace itself has hit a number of milestones that point to its own growth. Last year, it added 20 new markets, bringing the total to 31 in North America, and doing so in a cost-effictive way. While one of the biggest costs (and stumbling blocks) for storage services to date has been grappling with building real estate businesses, MakeSpace has leaned on the infrastructure of its strategic investor Iron Mountain to bypass that challenge (and reduce those associated costs).

Gandhi said that it’s been outpacing “even our strongest forecasts,” with growth north of 30% on its targets, and he said the company has tens of thousands of customers using its service, which is priced in tiers starting at $ 69/month.

And while you might assume that a lack of house moving might mean less activity for storage companies, it seems the opposite is the case: MakeSpace and others like it have been designated “essential services” and its services have been in demand for people who are looking at their living spaces — and the prospect of spending significantly more time in them doing more than just watching Netflix, eating and sleeping — with new eyes. And ditto small businesses that are moving out of premises, even temporarily, or needing to rejig their environments because of distancing rules.

What’s also notable about MakeSpace is how it organises its workforce. While many on-demand businesses today have scaled by using an army of contractors, and all the complexities that this brings into the equation with regards to employee protections and benefits, MakeSpace has hired only full-time people, using its own team and those employed by Iron Mountain.

“They can get wonderful packages and all the benefits and perks to keep employee base happy,” Gandhi said. “It makes it easier to scale up the business and in terms of the hiring capabilities to help us scale.”

For a company built out of tech DNA — which is the other side of the business, involving smart logistics planning and storage optimising, and of course building it into an interface that can be used easily by workers and customers — workforce scaling and real estate/warehouse expansion are two of the biggest challenges in building on-demand storage businesses to compete with the heavyweights in the market, which include Public Storage, Extra Space Storage and U-Haul.

For Iron Mountain, it gives the firm, which focuses on enterprise users, a way to share in the revenues from tapping into the consumer market (optimizing use of its storage warehouses) without the costs of trying to service it directly.

“It has been amazing to see what MakeSpace has accomplished in the past year alone, growing from 4 to 24 markets almost overnight, and adding another 7 in 2020. They have taken a unique approach to storage that answers the modern customer’s demand for convenience, using technology to enhance the service and grow at an immense scale,” said Deirdre Evens, EVP and GM of North America Records and Information Management at Iron Mountain, in a statement.

“Especially now, services such as MakeSpace are delivering vital solutions for customers and businesses. MakeSpace has proven itself as an industry leader, finding new ways to offer support and services for this challenging time.  We continue to be both proud and excited about our partnership with MakeSpace and the opportunity to leverage Iron Mountain’s storage and logistics expertise to further penetrate the fast growing valet consumer storage market.”

Gandhi acknowledged also that while Iron Mountain is an obvious acquirer longer-term, it remains a minority investor.

“It’s really key that we remain independent,” he added. “We understand the strength of what they bring to table but in order for this business to capture major market share we felt collectively it was important for it to remain that way. At some point that discussion [on a bigger stake or acquisition] may happen but for now we feel incredibly good about what they are bringing to the table.”

Startups – TechCrunch

[DailyPay in IBS Intelligence] DailyPay and Viventium partner for on-demand pay

New York-based Viventium, a SaaS-based human capital management solution provider, has announced that the company has entered into a strategic partnership with DailyPay,

Read more here.

The post [DailyPay in IBS Intelligence] DailyPay and Viventium partner for on-demand pay appeared first on OurCrowd.

OurCrowd

[DailyPay in Globe News Wire] Viventium and DailyPay Announce Strategic Partnership to Support Delivering On-Demand Pay Amid Healthcare Crisis

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, N.J., April 13, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Viventium, a SaaS-based human capital management solution, and DailyPay, a pay experience fintech solution with a comprehensive platform of offerings, including instant access to earned income, today announced a critical strategic partnership.

Read more here.

The post [DailyPay in Globe News Wire] Viventium and DailyPay Announce Strategic Partnership to Support Delivering On-Demand Pay Amid Healthcare Crisis appeared first on OurCrowd.

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