Entrepreneur

They Broke Even In A Year Helping S’poreans Save Precious Storage Space—Now They're In M'sia

At least 2 to 5% of our population are compulsive hoarders. Not everyone has it to that extreme, but many of us know what it’s like to have things we want to keep but run out of space to.

So, this company created a concierge service to deal with the lack of space some people face.

Beam Space is a mobile app that allows users to contact a concierge to have their items transported from home to storage unit.

Founder of Beam Space, Anna Chew, initially started up this service in Singapore.

“While working in Singapore, I noticed how the office lacked storage space. We studied the market and realised a need for personal storage as well, and found that the current services inefficient and costly for consumers,” Anna said.

She wanted to ensure that people still had their own personal space for themselves to keep whatever they liked—especially with the growing trend of co-working and sharing spaces.

“With the world heading towards a sharing economy, and smaller work and living spaces, we see storage as an extension of a personal closet or an office store room.”

And she was determined to set herself apart from other traditional storage providers—from providing logistics services to having more price benefits for their customers.

Beam Space received seed funding in early 2016 totalling SG$205,000, and they are now in the midst of doing another round of seed funding to raise SG$400,000 for expansion.

In Singapore, it took them one year to break even. Launching in Malaysia next month, Anna shared that they target a short runway to hit profitability, since they already have learnings from Singapore.

The cost of the service varies for each person as they charge customers according to the number of items stored as compared to charging for the space itself.

At the moment, Beam Space plans to charge RM6 a month for one small box, RM12 a month for one large box and RM20 a month for oversized items.

Pick up and delivery is at a flat rate of RM60 per trip (with RM100 for weekends).

“Imagine cost savings for business-to-business customers such as e-commerce providers when their stock gets sold,” Anna said.

You can store pretty much anything you want / Image credit: Beam Space

Beam Space also aims to create more convenience for their users through their mobile app platform.

This app enables you to view all your items that are being sent to storage and simplifies scheduling—there’s no need to contact them by phone or in person as long as you have the app.

With the addition of this platform, the company communicates mainly from the mobile app and is able to gather in a wider market of users as many people carry their mobiles with them everywhere they go these days.

“The BEAM Space mobile app is central to our business. In fact, the majority of our users engage with us through the mobile app, so it expands, rather than limits our market,” Anna said.

Being in the industry prior to coming to Malaysia has helped the company in many ways as well—but that doesn’t mean that there’s no space to improve.

“Malaysia represents an untapped market that allows us to do this at a lower cost. There is also demand from quite a number of sectors, it will be interesting to see how our offering is received in Malaysia,” Anna replied.

Schedule your pickup with the BEAM Concierge.

The mobile app was designed to be simple and straightforward.

Once you’ve selected the date and time, the app will notify the company and a trained storage concierge will be sent to collect the packages. The items are stored in a secured facility unit for the time being and will be delivered back to you once you select the date and time.

Once scheduled, it’ll be sent back to the address you specify—there’s no need for you to drive your car to and fro just to collect your belongings—it’s all taken care of.

“They can schedule pickups and deliveries while they’re out of the home or office, or on the move, as you are able to view all your items on the app,” Anna said.

However, some can be sceptical that this business will work in Malaysia.

It does make sense to separately store your belongings in a unit if you have a tight office or living space, but that isn’t really an issue when it comes to Malaysia.

We have an abundance of properties with large lands—there’s not as much need for storage space as compared to smaller countries like Singapore or Hong Kong.

So, would it attract the Malaysian market as much as it did with the Singaporean market?

“Malaysia is a different market, even marketing works differently here. But we already have key messages that we know will appeal to the market here,” she said.

Image credit: Beam Space

The company is confident that with time and the right exposure, they will be able to work their way around Malaysians.

“As with all new businesses, education is important, especially for a service as new as this. While it is not yet a trend, some Malaysians are already using the service. Awareness is important for all businesses,” Anna explained.

Beam Space has used several methods so far to find those who are interested in this service and it’s been proving well for them.

“We actively use digital channels to reach people searching for storage solutions, PR activities also help spread the word across other channels. We will also actively test conversions from activation and roadshows, the data allows us to then decide which marketing route to focus on further.” she said.

They hope to continue expanding their business by improving the quality of their service and curbing challenges along the way.

Coping with volume is a key challenge. We need to plan our expansion carefully, balancing operating costs with our roll-out,” Anna said.

“Making services convenient to users is key for the future. As we have plans to expand into other markets, we are testing all aspects of the business model and refining our business processes.”

Feature Image Credit: Beam Space

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