driving into town

New startup deemed the ‘Airbnb of vehicle storage’ steers into Houston

Houstonians are getting a new way to make a passive income and/or store their vehicles. Image via Stow It/Facebook

A startup that bills itself as the "Airbnb of vehicle storage" is driving into Houston.

Fort Collins, Colorado-based Stow It connects people with extra space to those who need to store cars, boats, RVs, and other vehicles. It also offers long-term parking near airports. The company initially launched in the Denver area and announced last month that it’s expanding into the Lone Star State.

Stow It works with businesses and individuals to take advantage of unused or underused space at places like storage facilities, parking garages, parking lots, barns, home garages, driveways, and unoccupied land. In February, the company said more than 400 properties in the Denver area were earning more than $1,000 a year by renting out space through its program.

“Any individual or business that is looking to make passive income off their open space through vehicle storage can become a Stow It host,” the company says in a news release.

For hosts, the company handles tasks such as booking reservations and processing payments. The startup says one of the benefits for renters is that they’re not locked into long-term contracts.

“Many people looking for vehicle storage are making the switch from traditional storage facilities to Stow It,” the company says.

In February, Stow It announced its expansion into Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio, Atlanta, Orlando, and Phoenix markets.

Users can visit the website to browse storage options in their area. A current search of the Austin area brings up covered parking options at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, priced at $185 per month.

------

This article originally ran on CultureMap.

Trending News

Building Houston

 
 

Kerri Smith of the Rice Alliance joins the Houston Innovators Podcast to discuss Rice's Clean Energy Accelerator. Photo courtesy of Rice

Kerri Smith knows accelerators. Through her over 18 years at Rice Alliance, she's been responsible for overseeing several and was on the founding leadership team of Houston's first energy tech startup accelerator, SURGE. After years of focusing you accelerating Rice University's student-focused program, Owl Spark, she's transitioned back into the energy tech space.

"I've worked with many types of founders. There's not one unique characteristic that everyone has," Smith says on the Houston Innovators Podcast. "Our goal is to help move them along and help them move the needle. At the end of the day, we want them to have a good experience and to meet their goals and objectives."

The Rice Alliance's Clean Energy Accelerator launched last summer with its inaugural cohort of 12 cleantech startups, which represented energy sectors from solar and wind innovations to hydrogen, geothermal, and more. Smith says the startups represented a wide range of stages and were from all over — only two companies were from Houston originally. The out-of-town companies were able to make critical partnerships in town and set up a presence and a home here.

"We were able to build a family-like culture among our group, and that was something that was wildly appreciative," Smith, who serves as executive director of the program, says.

Applications for Class 2 of CEA are open until May 31. While the program will offer the same access to mentorship and opportunities, the program will change slightly. CEA will focus on seed and series A-stage companies and will be a hybrid program. Throughout the 10 weeks, which begins in the fall instead of the summer this year, founders will visit Houston three times at the beginning, middle, and the end of the accelerator. Each startup will receive a grant to cover the expenses of the equity-free program.

CEA is just one part of a greater ecosystem of innovation under the umbrella of Rice University, which includes the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship, the Liu Idea Lab for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, The Ion Houston, Owl Spark, and more. All these entities also play into the greater Houston area's innovation ecosystem.

"Rice Alliance has a strong history of demonstrating collaboration with a number of organizations," Smith says. "I think one of the primary benefits that we have in these collaborative opportunities is to ensure that we are collectively building a capable and diverse pipeline of talent to solve for these problems and provide them with access to experiencing all of the benefits of our ecosystem."

With CEA specifically, some of these collaborations include working with Greentown Houston, which is just next door to the program's home at The Ion, and the Greater Houston Partnership's Houston Energy Transition Initiative.

"We're a cog in the wheel. We do really well with that. We play well with others – in ways that the founder has a good experience and can benefit," Smith says.

Smith shares more about what she's looking for in the second cohort of CEA on the podcast episode, as well as what she sees as Houston's role in the energy transition. Listen to the full interview below — or wherever you stream your podcasts — and subscribe for weekly episodes.

Trending News