Late in the summer of 2016, Stow arrived on the Fort Collins tech scene. If you’ve ever taken an Uber or Lyft — or driven for one — then you’ll already understand the basic idea of this new app. But instead of driving a car, Stow is more concerned with where you’re going to park it.
Founder and owner, Devin Eldridge, was inspired by the sharing economy boom and the inherent trust that makes it possible. “Trust is the largest trend that inspired Stow,” he said. “And storage was in such a short supply that from an economics and real estate perspective, the sharing economy seemed like an obvious solution.”
Devin experienced that shortage first hand when he and his wife had their second child and outgrew their starter home. When they made the move into Northern Colorado, the Eldridge’s closed on the old and new home within an hour of each other. He explained, “In the summer peak, storage options were limited. We ended up settling for the best option we could find: a mobile unit that we contracted for a month and used for three days. This cost $400. Even then we didn’t have all of the space for our items so we stored some furniture at a relative’s outbuilding.”
And, according to Devin, this just isn’t okay; so he put the storage sharing economy right at our fingertips (literally)!
Now, you can get the same square footage for 20 to 40% of the cost of traditional storage options — whether you need to stack some boxes, store equipment, park an RV or even your car. And the best part is, your storage facility might be just down the street from your home! “We had two next door neighbors enter into a transaction. Location doesn’t get any better,” said Devin.
When you download and open the Stow app (for Android or iOS), you’ll see all the available rentals that are closest to you. From parking spaces and extra closet room to garages and warehouses, there is already something to meet every need. Keep in mind, as Stow grows the storage sharing economy grows as well!
As a renter, you can search and find a space you like without registering. Then, to request a space or message the lessee, you simply add a phone number or email and a profile picture and credit or debit card number for added security. According to Devin, “After that, it’s completely up to you and the host. You request the space for your needs including timeframe and purpose and it is up to the host to approve your request.”
Because Stow embraces the sharing economy, the timeframe for renting and many other details are entirely up to the owner of that space. Rental charges can be automated and are done directly through the app, so both renter and lessee are assured of their security and payment.
And listing your own space is completely free. Any adult who has extra room and wants to use it to make cash can register! Devin said, “So many people across the front range don’t realize they can make extra money for almost no extra work with spaces like these.”
Right now, Stow vets each lessee on social media and checks online activity. Looking forward, they are hoping to add more security measures for both renters and owners.
In the years ahead, Stow is working on big plans for growth, increased efficiency and an even better user experience.
Devin explained, “We look forward to making Stow easy to use for both parties and the future may include features such as lease contract and photo repository, background checks and increased communication tools.”
As features improve and Devin and the Stow team refine their app, they plan to expand outside of Northern Colorado and the Denver Metro area, where they currently have listings. Devin said, “Our business model works best at a national level. However, we do want to make sure that we figure out Colorado first and provide the best experience for users here before moving beyond.”
As far as keeping their headquarters and their home right here in FoCo, Devin said, “We want to keep Stow in Fort Collins. Obviously, nearby cities such as Denver and Boulder are really great for tech startups, but we want to continue to build in the city we love as long as we see that as the best option for Stow’s future.”
Photos courtesy of Stow.