46. Stowga

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Founders: Charlie Pool and Joey Scully
February 2016 (Launched August 2016)

While Charlie Pool was working with a company that owned warehouses all over Europe, one of the warehouse managers asked if a temporary client could fill a warehouse during the empty summer lull as a sort of “Airbnb for warehouses”.

Pool did some investigating and realised that his client had hit upon a huge potential market.

Alongside Joe Scully, he launched Stowga, an on-demand marketplace to help companies find and book warehouses with surplus space.

Stowga charges on a commission basis, taking a percentage of the fees for every successful transaction.

Despite the property world arguing that “the market is supply constrained”, Pool explains that Stowga was “built on the premise that the exact opposite is true”. He says that whilst this constraint might be true from a tenancy perspective, it doesn’t apply from a lease perspective.

And with 4,000 warehouses on its database and customers including Asda, BT, KFC, Nature’s Bounty, Vimto and DHL, his theory seems to be right.

These companies can use the platform to increase fluidity in their supply chains, scale their warehouse space up or down rapidly to fit their business needs and hedge against volatility.

Many of these household names were secured through real estate fund Gazeley. Stowga has also struck a deal with industrial agent CBRE to partner with it and its clients.

The start-up is aiming to build the fastest way to buy, sell and exchange warehousing and logistics services, with a global network of providers and access to off-market space (at below-market rates) in an industry that’s traditionally been low tech, largely offline, and slow moving.

Currently available across the UK, the next year will see Stowga develop its technology towards a product/market fit and expand internationally in Europe. Beyond that Pool thinks his start-up has the potential to IPO and become a sustainable, long-term category leader.

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