Colton Gardner, who has a bachelor’s in finance from the U, co-founded Neighbor.com in 2016 to address the need of finding local storage that is both practical and affordable. He founded the company with Brigham Young University students Preston Alder and Joseph Woodbury.
Neighbor is a platform that allows people to sell access to their own storage space. Using a similar idea to sharing economy sensations like Uber and Airbnb, Neighbor users can both buy and sell storage at a reduced cost. Gardner said the company hopes to “strengthen communities and families by helping them make money or save money by monetizing spaces.”
Gardner credits the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute for helping Neighbor grow from a small idea to a successful company. At the earliest stages, Alder, Woodbury and Gardner used Lassonde to meet with lawyers and receive free consultation from experts. They also participated in the Get Seeded grant program, where they pitched their idea to judges and an audience for funding opportunities. The trio ultimately raised tens of thousands of dollars in grants from both the U and BYU.
Alder, Woodbury and Gardner participated in many competitions through Lassonde. At times, these competitions were not obviously success for Neighbor. At the first Get Seeded event, Neighbor received last place. However, Gardner emphasizes the less tangible benefits of the experience. He received “early validation and experience pitching an idea,” and he says competitions “helped us smooth out and validate our business model” and “allowed us to hone in on the most important things.”
Using the valuable experience and funding from Lassonde, Neighbor developed and improved its online platform. Neighbor has since raised millions in venture capital and is expanding its business nationwide.
Neighbor recently competed in the American Dream Ideas Challenge. It placed in the top three from the U, and went on to compete nationally. The competition’s mission to “strengthen communities and families” fit perfectly with Neighbor’s ethos. “Relationships are being formed through our platform,” Gardner said.
Learn more about Neighbor at neighbor.com.