Stowga, a London start-up, operates a digital marketplace for optimizing storage space. The innovative system is economical and easy to use, offering a high level of flexibility to manage supply chain logistics.

For companies seeking storage options in the United Kingdom, options now exist beyond building their own warehouses or signing long-term real estate leases. Launched in mid-2016, Stowga is a flexible online storage marketplace similar to Airbnb for travelers seeking temporary lodging in private homes. Via the internet, customers can book storage capacity on demand - like a tradable commodity - in about 4,000 warehouses across the country, with the simple click of a mouse. The long-term goal is to go global. The business model, put simply, is to remove inefficiencies in warehousing by creating a network of spaces across the globe where inventory is not constrained by static space but stored in exactly the right place at the right time.

Transparent marketplace for storage

“With our platform, which is financed through a service fee, we bring together providers and seekers of warehouse space in a really easy way,” says Stowga CEO Charlie Pool. “Our digital marketplace generates additional in-come for warehouse operators without them having to invest in sales and marketing.” And for those seeking available storage space, it offers an easy way to find the right location, transparent, competitive pricing and a swift purchasing process, according to Pool, whose London-based startup Stowga is backed by investors such as Hambro Perks and Seedcamp.

Making the flow of goods more flexible

Pool estimates that between 10 and 20 percent of warehouse capacity in the country is unused.Stowga’s advanced databases seamlessly match supply and demand; they are designed to capitalize on available storage space and cope with seasonal peaks in demand. The stored information enables customers to implement local and flexible distribution concepts by buying storage capacity as and where needed. Beverage producer Vimto is among the growing number of customers benefitting from Stowga’s local warehousing on demand offering.

Local flexibility in the distribution system has several economic benefits. Goods, for instance, no longer have to be transported across the country, thus reducing traffic and carbon footprints. Stowga is currently collaborating with local authorities and German automotive supplier Bosch to determine how the urban supply of goods can be made more sustainable in the future. Given the opportunities the new digital platform offers, Stowga aims to expand its service to other markets. As Pool says, it is ultimately important “that companies can make their goods available everywhere in the world, at the right time, the right place, and the right price.”

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