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The following is a re-blog from the Spacefinity team, who started working on Spacefinity at a Startup Weekend Pittsburgh event this April.

Our story begins at Startup Weekend Pittsburgh on Friday, April 5, 2013.

Alex Hendershott – a multidisciplinary, interactive and visual designer – stepped on stage at East Liberty Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh to pitch an idea for an online marketplace for peer-to-peer self storage. With only 60 seconds to pitch, he caught the attention of a room full of roughly 100 developers, designers, and business people. He called the idea “Sparespace.”

At the end of the pitches, Sparespace received a significant amount of votes from the audience, and a team of 11 people agreed to work on the idea over the weekend. Fueled by caffeine and a healthy dose of competitive adrenaline, our team began to develop a business model, brand identity, and pitch deck to present to a panel of judges 54 hours later. We also used the time to research the $22B self storage industry, survey potential customers through email and social media networks, and create a fully functional HTML5 demo website. We received survey responses from hundreds of college students and hobbyists in the Pittsburgh area with temporary self storage needs. One potential user sent us a tweet that read: “I need a place to store my kayak. Make this idea happen.“ It just so happened that Alex had space in his basement to store a kayak. The idea was validated.

We won second place for our pitch at Startup Weekend Pittsburgh and were encouraged to apply to a local accelerator program. Four team members – Alex HendershottJackie VesciJoe Esposito, and Steve McCarthy – met on nights, weekends, and Google Hangouts to form a Delaware C Corporation under the name Spacefinity, Inc. Steve moved from Cleveland to Pittsburgh and tested the idea by storing his belongings in Alex’s basement while he searched for an apartment. He validated another use case: people moving to a new place.

StartupWeekendTeam

Several more people with stuff to store and space to rent contacted us in the following months. A co-founder of a Pittsburgh startup called PortaBeer reached out to us on Twitter to try to find a space to store his portable draft beer systems. We’re connecting him to a guy with a nearby garage.

Nearly three months after our Startup Weekend experiment, we’re continuing to validate customers and build the online marketplace for peer-to-peer self storage. Follow our progress on Twitter and Facebook. Visit our website and sign up for our mailing list at Spacefinity.com. Help us write the rest of our story about the search for infinite self storage space.

Check out the video Spacefinity shared with us: 

– See more at: http://blog.spacefinity.com/the-spacefinity-story/#sthash.4UE6hk6W.dpuf

 

Claire Topalian Claire Topalian
(@clairetopalian) Blog, Professional Writing, Communications and PR Specialist. I craft compelling, mission-driven content for companies and individuals that amplifies brand awareness, fosters community, and drives engagement. My experience includes work with tech startups, major corporations, and international non-profits. @clairetopalian