Boxful, a Hong Kong-based startup that enables customers to store unwanted items in warehouses, has landed $6.6 million to develop its domestic business and expand into other parts of Asia.
The service is designed to give those living in crowded Hong Kong, where real estate prices are higher than many other parts of Asia, a way to stash their goods while maximizing their living space or office.
Launched in January 2015, the Boxful service uses mobile apps to simplify the process — much like US companies MakeSpace and Clutter. Boxful charges upwards of HK$29 ($3.70) per month per box, which includes free pick-up and door-to-door delivery. The company said only that it has “thousands” of users, the majority of which are household customers — although co-founder and CEO Norman Cheung believes the service will increasingly appeal to business users, particularly SMEs.
Boxful operates in a fairly crowded space — no pun intended. In addition to traditional storage companies which have been operation in Hong Kong for nearly 20 years, half a dozen or so startups have sprung up offering on-demand services. Unlike its competitors, Boxful handles logistics — collection and delivery — itself, while it uses storage facilities slightly out of town to maximize cost savings. Finally, its boxes are standard issue, which means they can be stacked to use the warehouse space more efficiently.
“All these things help us to reduce rent and increase efficiency of the units,” Cheung told TechCrunch in an interview. “We really squeeze out all the efficiency within the warehouses.”
Boxful, which raised a $1.5 million seed round earlier this year, will use this Series A capital to invest in growing its logistics and team, as well as increasing its tech capabilities. Cheung said the company is focused on Hong Kong right now, but it is planing to expand overseas next year.
“Ultimately, the funding is also earmarked for other major cities that we want to expand into, but we don’t have any concrete plans,” he said. “The launches will initially be small scale, we’ll test out each market and if things go well we can be comfortable scaling.”
Boxful’s new $6.6 million round was put together by a range of investors, including real estate firms Great Eagle, Carlton Holdings and Soundwill Holdings. Chinese conglomerate Tinghsin Group, and VC firms Arocrest Capital, Singapore’s Lonsdale Capital and Vega Properties rounded out its backers.