“We see Austin as a great, vibrant market where space is very dense,” said Kyle Bainter, co-founder of Callbox Storage. “Forbes rated them fasted growing city in country, [and it is] expected to double in size over next 25 years. It’s also the highest home-value market, 30 percent higher than Dallas-Fort Worth.”
So for Callbox, which offers on-demand storage, tracking, and retrieval services for residents and businesses, the city was ideal for expansion. The company, which recently raised $5 million in its second round of investment, has signed a lease for 40,000 square feet of space, which it will use as its warehouse, in Pflugerville, just north of Austin. Services will be available to the entire Austin region, including as far north as Georgetown, in mid-October.
Callbox, which Bainter and co-founder Dan Slaven launched in September 2016, has already logged 1,000 pickups and deliveries, more than doubled its warehouse space, and built a team of about 15 people. The company is projected to generate at least $2.5 million in revenue in 2018, the co-founders said. Bainter and Slaven said their strategy is to expand across cities, with Austin serving as the first growth market. The two are also eying three additional markets, one of which is outside of Texas, for possible launch in 2018.
Using an initial $300,000 out-of-pocket investment, Bainter and Slaven, who have backgrounds in real estate accounting, investment, and development, created Callbox to ease the pain points associated with traditional storage. “There’s the rented truck, time, enlisting friends and family for help,” Bainter said about the process. “Then when you want something back, you have to go back and dig around for it … We figured there has to be a better way to do this.”
To address these issues, Bainter and Slaven created a process to make storage more convenient. Customers can sign up online or call the service, at which time they will be assigned to a storage coordinator. They then set up a pickup time and location. Callbox will send movers to do all the heavy lifting. Its team also takes photos and assigns a barcode to each item going into storage. The team then bubble wraps and loads items into its truck, checks out with the customer, and takes the cargo to Callbox’s 52,500 square-foot storage facility. The customer can view or search for any of the stored items on Callbox’s mobile platform. This allows the customer to request an item for delivery back to them at any time.
The company charges based on the storage space the customer needs. It includes one delivery to return up to five regular-sized items in the cost, and charges nominal fees for larger or additional items.
The model resonated with customers, 70 percent of which are residential, quickly grew. Callbox serves the North Texas region ranging from as far west as Fort Worth to as far east as Lake Ray Hubbard communities. It’s service region goes all the way up to Prosper and south to communities near Interstate 20.
“We’re the first Texas-based model to do this,” Bainter said, adding that traditional storage has to build a facility every 3 miles to expand its customer base. “The market is 85 percent fragmented. The big four control 15 percent of the market. We’ve come in with more service, larger radius, can scale quicker, and use technology.”
“It’s such a big industry so there’s a lot of opportunity for growth,” Slaven said, citing that the industry is valued at $30 billion. “There will be competitors in the marketplace, but we’ll win. We have smart people and a great cost. Since we have backgrounds in real estate, we have a lot of relationships and can get creative.”