Founded in 2019, OpenUnit is a Toronto-based startup company that created a software platform that features a full suite of logistical tools to help storage facilities of all sizes to manage their operations.
The company’s logistics software features a management portal where storage facility owners can utilize various customer relationship management (CRM) tools, operate multiple storage facilities, draft rental agreements, deploy payment services, build websites, and create marketing materials. In addition, OpenUnit Books offers a variety of financial tools like accounting and bookkeeping. Furthermore, employees can communicate, be monitored, and managed through the logistics software.
The logistics software itself is free; however, the startup takes 2.9% plus a 30¢ commission fee for all online rental and automated billing transactions. For in-person payments, the company takes a 2.65% plus a 10¢ commission rate. The business also offers a point-of-sale (POS) system, OpenUnit Terminal, that is $499 CAD (about $414 USD).
The business is competing against other self-storage logistics software companies like 6Storage, Unit Trac, Storage Commander, and Easy Storage Solutions. OpenUnit differentiates itself from these competitors as it is free software with a larger variety of services.
The startup company announced it raised $1 million in seed funding led by Y Combinator. Garage Capital, Advisors Fund, Insite Property Group, and various angel investors also participated in this round. The business previously raised $150,000 in pre-seed funding, also led by Y Combinator in August 2020.
Taylor Cooney, co-founder and CEO of OpenUnit, said in a statement, “Our investors - new and existing - believe in our team and product vision, and, most importantly, the future of OpenUnit. We are delighted to have them on board for the next phase of our journey...This new investment round will fuel our growth as we continue to build an industry-leading software solution for the self-storage industry.”
The startup claims that the last year has been spent on fine-tuning its logistics software to help make storage facility management easier, effective, and potentially faster in some areas.
In the next six months, the company plans to increase its staff and investments in product development with the new capital.
In addition to the funding announcement, the business also stated it acquired Affiga, a San Francisco-based data and customer insight startup. Affiga shut down in 2020. According to the logistics business, the purpose of the acquisition was to utilize the Affiga technology so that storage facility operators could learn more about their customers. The business added that no new employees would join OpenUnit as a result of the acquisition.
The self-storage market was valued at $40.73 billion in 2020 and is projected to reach nearly $54 million by 2026 — growing at a CAGR of about 4.8% from 2021 to 2026. Forbes reported in October 2020 that investors are exploring the self-storage market for several reasons, including a higher return on investment (ROI). From 2008 to 2018, self-storage facilities reported an average ROI of nearly 17%.
About the Author
McKenzie Carpenter is a graduate of Central Michigan University with a B.A.A. in Integrative Public Relations and French. McKenzie has previously worked for small businesses and nonprofit organizations.