Untold Story of Vertoe
As Aldous Huxley rightly said, “Experience is not what happens to you, it’s what you do with what happens to you”. Vertoe is a success story of one such experience.
The happy faces in this picture above are us! Sid & Neha, as husband and wife, vivid travelers and Co-founders at Vertoe, and that’s how we share multi-facet compatibility with each other.
We both come with a versatile professional background. Where Sid has worked at Google for 6 years across product and ad analytics and was part of two back startups early in his career. Neha is passionate about creating space in consumer’s mind and has a 9-years long experience in doing consumer marketing for leading firms like Penguin Random House, Lindt Chocolates and grew a Froyo startup to a leading chain in India.
As travelers, we have been to many places, but this story originated a couple of years ago when we were on a multi-city west coast trip with LA being our final stop.
That Emotional Moment
Right when we checked out of our Airbnb apartment and we were super excited to explore LA beaches, it took us no time to realize that we are stuck with our 3 suitcases!
We spent 6 hours trying to find a place to store our suitcases but it turned out to be a nightmare!
After the scarring experience, we were overwhelmed by many self-raised questions. Why was there no good solution in the market for short term storage for a few hours and days? How do people in our state tackle this issue? Can there be a lasting solution to this problem?
Our moment of truth
After multiple surveys and in-person interviews, we recognized that such a problem is crying out to be solved in helping travelers realize their dream travel. This led us to the mission of optimizing existing spaces and creating a world where you can book and access your instant storage spot aka Vertoe within 5 minutes of wherever you are.
This is how we did it
At one end, many travelers were simply stranded for the need for a convenient and safe luggage storage option and on the other, choices were scarce and the whole process was expensive and cumbersome. Traditional luggage storage was far and few along with being rigid with time and cost options. And to make it even worse, safety and security of the luggage are least accounted for. Most affected were people whose hotels weren’t located close to tourist attractions or had no personal commutes; they were simply stranded with no options. In a nutshell, most travelers were left in the lurch for better luggage storage options with no time to relish the travel experience.
Finding that Product-Market Fit
We started this as a ‘weekend experiment’ (instead of hitting bars on the weekends!) and indulged in multiple surveys and in-person interviews to gather insights. After extensive research based on an online/ offline survey, the results showed that an upward of 200M+ travelers each year in the US alone was going through the problem of lugging baggage at some point in their trip. Thus we knew that the opportunity for a solution was big.
Having explored the breadth of the problem, we were hopeful of finding solutions. We evaluated the self-storage industry and realized that they have high operating costs because of warehousing and need to lock you in for months to recover these costs. Plus, access was not instant. When you’re lugging bags and trying to maximize your vacation time, you need instant gratification and we could understand why self-storage model won’t work. Given this, we started thinking about all the unused space in society and how that can become accessible. We looked at Airbnb and it’s fascinating to see that people are welcoming strangers in their rooms, homes, etc and all we needed was a corner to keep 4-5 bags and thus, the idea of Vertoe was born. ‘Verto’ stands for transformation or exchange in Latin and the domain name was available 😉
We pivoted to the idea of using shops instead of residential homes thanks to their consistent hours of operations and pieced together a basic MVP with 5 shops and were on a mission to connect people looking to safely store their bags and personal items to nearby local shops and businesses that have space.
Hence Vertoe – Your Instant Storage Space!
Meet Vertoe, your instant storage spot to meet all your storage needs. From a mere idea to serve people storage convenience, Vertoe has evolved as a thought leader in providing short term luggage storage solutions with a core mantra of affordability, convenience, and safety.
With prices starting from as low as $5.95, booking a luggage storage space has become easier and more affordable than ever. Vertoe’s prior booking and group bookings offer further discounts and benefits. Considering safety as the prime, each bag is secured with a uniquely coded tamper-proof seal and you get an industry best insurance of $5000 for that extra peace of mind.
Heading towards a rapid expansion, Vertoe is currently available in 300+ locations across 20 cities worldwide which makes you within a walking distance from a nearby luggage storage location. Amalgamation of convenience, safety, and affordability, Vertoe leads the instant storage space providers over any conventional luggage lockers which are expensive and have the limitation on location and storage choices.
Today our partner stores are strategically located near all transit and tourist spots to provide storage space within 5 minutes of wherever our end users are. And since lugging is a problem that’s mostly an after-thought, we knew customers will need instant gratification. To serve this instant need, it was important to first launch a web-app where the travelers with sketchy internet don’t need to download an app. Today Vertoe’s responsive mobile optimized website gives you the ease of booking your luggage storage space online within 2 minutes and in just three simple steps.
We are making a difference
In our endeavor to create the on-demand short term storage marketplace, we aimed to create an ecosystem that serves people and simultaneously provides growth opportunities to small business owners. In providing safe and convenient storage, our partners in the form of small shop owners have entrepreneurial options while offering affordability and peace of mind to their customers. Our marketplace ecosystem gives back to society and helps to generate additional revenue for local businesses.
For anyone tired of lugging
Here are some of the ways in which people find Vertoe instantly gratifying:
Travel: Amidst odd check-in and check out timings at Airbnb/hotel or long layovers at the airport, Vertoe meets the desire of making the most of traveler’s time in exploring the city before heading to catch your flight, bus or train.
Equipment: Lugging bulky office equipment, musical instruments, and sports gear through the crowded subways or long commutes is a thing of past. Vertoe stores equipment of daily commuters and professionals to give them utmost convenience.
Meeting: We understand the workload of business travelers and helping them shed off additional baggage is our raison d’être. We master in storing their bags so that they master in winning deals. It’ a win-win situation!
Event: When fans travel all the way to watch their favorite concert or game show, we help pump up the adrenaline. By keeping their baggage safely which is otherwise not permitted inside venues, we multiply the fun manifold.
For the space providers
We aim to optimize unused space and help local businesses.
This has helped the small businesses generate a new revenue stream without investing any additional resources. And to extend this helping hand, we have made the whole process easier for the potential businesses to join our platform. Some of our best locations today earn upwards of $1,000/mo with a few of them now allocating even more space for storage! Interestingly, few of our store owners earn more than $5K/month! And one of the store owners is also our angel investor! This has been one of our biggest validations!
This part of Vertoe story is just a glimpse of so much more we want to share with all of you. We are so grateful for all the love we have received so far from our stellar team, customers, investors, mentors and everyone who believed in Vertoe and its vision. Stay tuned to hear more on our expansion so far….