All of us are familiar with peer-to-peer marketplaces like Uber and Airbnb. These disruptive companies are changing the way we get around and travel. A University of Utah alum is now working to disrupt the way you use storage. Neighbor, considered the “Airbnb of Storage,” is an online marketplace that connects hosts with extra space in their home to renters in need of storage. Just like other peer-to-peer marketplaces have done in their own markets, Neighbor is attempting to break into the $38 billion storage industry.
Colton Gardner, who majored in finance, cofounded Neighbor while at the U in 2016. His cofounder and BYU alum, Preston Alder, came up with the idea of Neighbor when trying to find cheap storage space for his possessions during a summer internship. After driving two hours to store his items in a family friend’s garage, he thought there must be empty garages closer to him that he could store in — and thus, Neighbor was born.
Gardner and Alder teamed up and utilized many of the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute’s resources to help them get started. “Hours with Experts, Get Seeded, Opportunity Quest and the Utah Entrepreneur Challenge were crucial to Neighbor’s success,” Gardner said. “Nearly $8,000 in grants from Get Seeded and Opportunity Quest allowed us to validate our business model and build a beta website.”
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article listed the spelling of Neighbor as “Neiybor.” The company has since rebranded as Neighbor.
Find this article and a lot more in the 2018 “Student Innovation @ the U” report. The publication is presented by the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute to celebrate student innovators, change-makers and entrepreneurs.