Stasher: UCL startup provides a much-needed safe place to leave your luggage
Stasher supplies a flexible, affordable service for tourists and travellers to store their bags securely in locations in 250 cities worldwide.
13 November 2020
UCL alumnus Jacob Wedderburn-Day (MSc Economics 2016) and Anthony Collias established the world's first luggage storage network. The UCL startup is now valued at over $12 million and has a presence in 35 countries.
How the company bagged its place in the fast lane
Whether you're travelling to Leeds, Paris or Lisbon, it's become so much easier to find somewhere to stay. But it wasn't easy to find a place to leave your luggage while you took in the sights or waited for a flight.
Stasher solves that problem by providing an affordable, flexible service that means anyone on the move can find a secure spot nearby to store (and insure) their bags.
From kitchen table to household name
Tourists and travellers have Jacob and Anthony to thank for Stasher. And the entrepreneurs have UCL Innovation & Enterprise to thank for access to an HQ in central London that didn't cost them a penny.
The team had been working to secure initial funding and were eager to devote themselves to the venture full time. But without the funds to rent suitable office space, they had to squeeze into each other's homes and any other places they could find.
With support from UCL Innovation & Enterprise, they secured free office space at BaseKX, UCL's entrepreneurship hub. This wasn't just a space in the heart of the capital that Stasher could call home, it was somewhere they could connect with, be inspired by, and share and solve challenges with other like-minded entrepreneurs. What's more, they received expert commercial advice and access to UCL Innovation & Enterprise's network of peers and mentors who offered precious insights, motivation and opportunities to collaborate.
The next stop on the journey
Stasher started as a lightbulb moment in 2015 when a friend asked Anthony to store their stuff in his flat near King's Cross. Anthony joked: "Sure, but I'm charging you for it".
In January 2020, Stasher closed a $2.5 million funding round, led by Venture Friends, involving investors from Hotels.com and Spotify. The business has partnered with companies including Hotels.com, Klook and Marriott, as well as brands like Premier Inn, Expedia and Accor.
Stasher has gone from dealing with 1,000 bags to over 500,000 in 35 countries, and Jacob and Anthony were both recognised in 2020 on Europe's Forbes 30 under 30 list. Ever the entrepreneurs, they have now launched Treepoints, a new venture to tackle climate change.
Jacob said: "Without UCL Innovation & Enterprise, we might still be a small business, run from a kitchen table in our spare time."
Jacob has now returned to the BaseKX, but this time as a mentor. He shares his knowledge of establishing a successful startup with the next generation of UCL entrepreneurs.
Jacob said of the experience: "I really enjoy being a mentor to the startups at BaseKX. I started my entrepreneurship journey at UCL, and I'm delighted to be able to give back by sharing what I've learned with Stasher."
Find out more about:
- entrepreneurship support for UCL students and recent graduates
- joining the Hatchery startup incubator
Photo supplied by Stasher.