Kevin is the founder of Storekat – an aggregation engine that acts like a peer to peer portal, designed for the self-storage industry. Self-storage providers can list their available spaces for free and consumers can find self-storage options as simple as booking a hotel online.
Execute, Execute, Execute. Do not give up on your first negative response, but try and turn it into a positive learning experience.
Tell us a little bit about your idea and what made you decide to take the plunge and make it happen?
We were faced with a highly fragmented marketplace when looking for self storage. We could not easily book anything, but instead had to deal with online forms and call-backs in order to even just inspect a storage space. Also, the sector is dominated by big players that only have their own options available, so we wanted to make something to solve the problem for the small self-storage provider who could not effectively market their available space online. Online searches for self-storage is a growth sector of the industry and we felt that the small guys were not getting the representation they needed.
Can you please explain your business model?
We charge a small nominal handling fee to the consumer spend, which is capped. Providers can set their prices in real time and our fee adjusts accordingly.
What are you working on right now and what are you most excited about in the next year?
We are focussing on growth, setting up for the USA, and are headed to both San Francisco and Vegas in April for the largest world expo for the self-storage industry in the world. When we return we are pitching at an accelerator competition being hosted by Google in Sydney in mid May.
How do you make your ideas happen?
Execute, Execute, Execute. Do not give up on your first negative response, but try and turn it into a positive learning experience. Your harshest critics can also become your biggest supporters if your idea is right and you execute well.
What role have mentors played in your business life?
I have had incredible mentors. The journey does not happen without them. They are pivotal in providing light in the darkest of times, and keeping you in check when you need it. The experience helps us navigate some of the more treacherous waters.
What does your typical day look like?
First thing, around 5:30am, I will make myself a coffee and read something in a quiet spot and wait for the sun. I make time for myself for about a half hour to help with a reset. My emails will download and I will go through them and update our social media as required. Then generally I make myself available for anyone that needs to meet. If I finish my work, I look for something sciency to read. I usually have several things open on my computer at any given time, and keep it open until around 1130pm.
What challenges have you faced when starting or growing a business/organisation in Australia?
Do not rely on government to pay for your startup. VC funding is available in Australia, however it is getting the time and mentorship from them that I think is the most valuable. Barriers for us have included negative responses to the disruption that is lurking around most industries. The disruptors are not going away, and neither are the multinationals that dominate market share. Finding a middle road that allows small business to thrive and employ people is what we are trying to achieve.
Do you have an idea you are willing to give away for free?
Plan on getting good advice and be prepared to pay for it. Don’t scrimp on your team. Also shift the way that you respond to negative feedback and make it motivational. Treat everything like a learning experience. Also, do not just build your project, you have to do the legwork to get traction.
What other companies do you think are doing really cool stuff in your industry in Australia at the moment?
What about internationally?
Stripe’s new Atlas feature will be a great lift for Australian startups, if it comes off.
Kickfurther is also a really cool social funding platform.
What role do you think business can play in affecting social change?
Building trust amongst social networks and increasing connectivity in a globalised world that enables information to get to people that need it. I am also getting quite interested in how creators of block chain algorithms can apply them so they can be used to secure land entitlement in impoverished or corrupt parts of the world. I was present at a great talk by Bill Tai where he explained this concept and it blew my mind. It could literally change the world.
I am also getting quite interested in how creators of block chain algorithms can apply them so they can be used to secure land entitlement in impoverished or corrupt parts of the world. I was present at a great talk by Bill Tai where he explained this concept and it blew my mind. It could literally change the world.
Is there a particular charity or social enterprise you support?
I have been a supporter of saving animals from euthanasia. I also support anything that prevents children from being exposed to abuse.
Name 3 websites you would recommend to our readers.
Name 3 Australians we should follow on Twitter.
Paul Keating, for sledging and heckling.
Rick Baker, for startup information.
South Park, for no reason.
Are there opportunities for people to get involved with your idea?
Yes, we are currently seeking funding to assist us with our digital marketing strategy and advisory board.
We’re aiming to build a community of Australian idea makers helping each other. If you could have one question answered about startups, marketing, social media, accounting, monetization, product development etc. What would it be?
Why can’t we compete less with each other and more with the world…
What’s your favourite bar/café/restaurant?
I love anything that brews their own beer or roasts their own coffee… That being said, I am a fan of Rodney’s Bait and Tackle in Perth.