Startup Expands Self Storage Footprint in California

Stuf opened its first location in 2020 in New York and has since expanded to five markets.
115 Sansome St. Image via Google Street View

Stuf, a New York-based self storage startup, has opened two new locations in San Francisco’s Financial District and in downtown Oakland, Calif., bringing its portfolio to seven locations across five markets. 

The company’s first Oakland facility occupies the basement of an office building at 521 16th St. Storage spaces range from 20 to 60 square feet.

Stuf’s second San Francisco facility is located at 115 Sansome St., also in the basement of a business center owned by Vanbarton Group. Unit size ranges between 20 and 63 square feet.

Startup business model

The startup specializes in mini-self storage spaces in high-density markets that are harder to penetrate due to shortages in development sites.

Following a strategy of identifying and converting underutilized space into storage units, the company partners with commercial landlords by signing revenue-sharing agreements rather than traditional leases, Stuf CEO Katharine Lau said in an interview with Yahoo Finance. According to Lau, the business model will translate to better rent rates for clients as the company grows.

Stuf opened its first location in 2020 in New York and has since expanded to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and Oakland, Calif.  At the end of last year, the company raised $1.8 million in financing from two investors, according to TechCrunch

Both New York and San Francisco are largely underserved markets, with available self storage space per person significantly below the national average of 7 square feet per capita, Yardi Matrix data shows.

Still, New York is catching up fast, ranking highest nationwide for construction activity in June. Projects in various stages of construction added up to 17.5 percent of existing stock, up 60 basis points over the previous month.