In this interview, I had the opportunity to speak with Devin Eldridge, Co-Founder of Stow. Stow is the cutting-edge storage app that allows people to make extra cash by renting out spare storage. Check out our interview below, as he shares his success.
Please tell us about yourself and your company Stow?
Hi! My nam is Devin Eldridge. I am an Entrepreneur and a Problem Solver. I like to fix things that could be more efficient and less wasteful. I love to stay busy with new challenges and a variety of work. I am married and have three little kids ages 4, 3, and 1. Being a father is the most rewarding thing I do and I am fortunate to have an amazing wife that is supportive of what we are doing with Stow.
Staying busy has included getting an MBA and a degree in accounting. I am a licensed CPA and worked at OtterBox and EKS&H. I also worked in insurance sales and customer service. I was a missionary and lived in Santiago, Chile for two years. I learned a lot about people and life in that time. I was pretty shy and unsure of what I could accomplish in life before then, but learned if I set my mind to something and find the right people I can usually accomplish anything I take on. This has been a lot of what being an entrepreneur is about.
Stow is a marketplace for storage and parking allowing users with extra space to make extra income by listing it on the Stow platform. Owners list any extra space that they have to make extra income. Renters can search spaces that meet their budget, location, and timeframe requirements.
Stow seems like a great storage solution (bravo!). What inspired the creation of such an innovative concept?
When my wife and I had our second child, we began to quickly outgrow our starter home. We finished the closings on our old and new home within an hour of each other. In the summer peak, storage options were limited. We ended up settling for the best option we could find: A mobile unit that we had to contract for a month and used for three days. This cost $400. Even then we didn’t have all of the space for our items so we stored some furniture at a relative’s outbuilding. I thought there had to be a better solution and couldn’t find one. Since then, we have met so many neighbors that were willing to let us store items at their houses.
Please give us a step-by-step rundown of how the app works.
In order to be an “Owner” or “host” on Stow you have to create a profile and pass a background check. Once you securely link a bank account you can then list your space. You can easily upload pictures, set the price, and add a description to market your space.
Renters browse for a space that meets their budget, location, and timeframe requirements. They request the space from the owner and discuss items such as access hours and scheduling through in-app messaging. When they agree, the owner accepts the request and the Stowing begins.
Biggest challenge you faced while launching Stow, and how you worked to overcome that challenge?
Really, just sticking with it. having a family and creating a company is a lot of hard work. Coming from a professional role and salary, there were so many points were it would have been convenient to give up and go back to a steady paycheck. Having a huge support system from my spouse, business partner/brother, and other family and friends was crucial. A lot of first-time entrepreneurs don’t realize how difficult it can be and the amount of effort and sacrifice required.
You recently won a pitch competition (congrats!). Can you tell us more about how winning a Startup Denver competition has helped you?
The event has been great for Stow. We were featured on a Tech Tuesday update by 9news in Denver after winning the event and there has been a good amount of buzz around Stow. We have also been connected to some really great mentor and investor networks.
One expert tip every tech startup owner should know?
Get feedback as early and often as possible. You shouldn’t and can’t implement everything, but it provokes deeper thought about what you are creating and how you can serve your potential market.
Future goals (can be personal and or professional)?
I really like helping everyday people get a step further in life. That is one of the things that I love about Stow because it provides extra income to great people. I would really like to build on that with Stow and any other startups in the future.