AMERICAN FORK — Peer-to-peer storage innovator Neighbor announced a $10 million Series A funding round Thursday, led by renowned Silicon Valley venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.
While Neighbor has already established foothold operations in all 50 states, the new capital will help fuel continued growth. The company will also bear the benefit of having Jeff Jordan, managing partner at Andreessen Horowitz, join its board of directors. Johnson has held executive positions at eBay, PayPal and OpenTable and currently sits on the boards of Airbnb, Instacart, Lime and Pinterest.
“Neighbor has a lot of the attributes that first attracted me to the Airbnb investment — economic empowerment for the hosts, a superior value prop for the guests in a huge market, and better leveraging existing infrastructure in a sustainable way,” Jordan said in a statement. “I look forward to supporting their efforts to build a comparable company.”
Neighbor was launched in 2017 by a trio of BYU grads with the goal of building something deeper than just a high-tech go-between for people with stuff to store and other people with space to spare. Neighbor co-founders say they’re not only beating their traditional mini-storage competitors on price — by half — they’re also using unique tools like machine learning and augmented reality to become the most convenient, safe and flexible storage solution there is.
Joseph Woodbury, Neighbor co-founder and CEO, said the company’s stellar growth since launching less than three years ago has been driven in large part by positive user experiences and the subsequent word of mouth with their, well, neighbors.
“A lot of our growth continues to be organic,” Woodbury said. “The more people we get making thousands of dollars, the more people we have telling their friends about it.”
Woodbury noted that unlike other peer-to-peer platforms, Neighbor doesn’t require anything more than just identifying unused space and making it available to rent.
“We’re just about the most accessible market out there,” Woodbury said. “Anyone can use it. And you don’t have to go work to make money, like driving for Uber or Doordash. If you want to do Airbnb you have to have a furnished space and you better be in a destination location.”
Neighbor’s platform matches users from students storing a box in a neighbor’s closet for $20 per month to a homeowner storing a classic car in their third car garage for $400 each month. Neighbor reports some hosts make as much as $25,000 per year, all in passive income that requires little to no work. And the potential market is enormous, with 2020 self-storage revenues projected to exceed $40 billion in the U.S.
When tech companies began leveraging the idea of the new shared economy a decade or so ago, many predicted it would take the world by storm and fundamentally change how customers acquire everything from a hand tool to a hotel room.
But it turns out the predictions missed the mark. The tidal wave of the new shared economy never really materialized, business failures far outnumbered successes, and just a handful of insightful stalwarts rose to prominence.
The handful that identified staid, old business models and redefined them, leveraging innovation that elevated ease of use, service quality and cost savings, have become near household names.
Uber. Lyft. Airbnb.
Now, Neighbor has a new board member in Jordan who has been featured on numerous lists of the top U.S. venture capitalists, a “seer” who has honed the art of picking winners. He has gold-plated bonafides when it comes to peer-to-peer endeavors as well as a penchant for identifying, and nurturing, companies in the marketplace space. That includes an investment in Airbnb when it was still a fledgling operation, as well as backing Instacart and Lime well before those companies’ valuations were measured in multiple billions of dollars.
Woodbury is stoked, both for the new working capital as well as Jordan joining the Neighbor team.
“Jordan is one of the best investors in the world,” Woodbury said. “He and his firm have a strong track record for building the best marketplaces out there ... Airbnb, Instacart, Pinterest.
“Some of the other marketplaces may get a bad rap, or have bad reputations, but not Andreessen’s.”
Other investors in Neighbor’s Series A round include Nate Bosshard, former partner at Khosla Ventures and co-founder of Tonal, as well as Ryan Graves, Uber’s first CEO.