Third prize winner of the recent Startup Weekend Singapore Mega (2017), Keep, would like to help you find the space to keep your things.
Halim, Dohun and Sophie are international students studying in the National University of Singapore. As international students, they faced storage issues every vacation, and were inspired to start Keep — an AirBnB for self-storage. The team is passionate about solving the problem of self-storage in Singapore, and co-founder Halim is here to share more about the story and motivations behind Keep!
What is the story behind Keep?
Dohun and I always faced storage problems, and it inspired us to look for a solution. My father comes to Singapore every month and he brings like 10kg of kimchi every time. We did not always have enough space in the fridge, so sometimes asked our neighbours for help. International students like us go back to their home country every vacation, and have to leave things like clothes, books, etc. Dohun always had a hard time finding storage as not many friends could keep his things and storage providers were not so suitable for him. (e.g. 3-months commitment, pricing, collecting/giving the boxes late)
How did the team meet?
Dohun and I are final year mechanical engineering students, while Sophie is in her third year in Computer Science. Dohun and I first came together in the second year of university. Together with some others, we started HANUS -an online and offline newsletter written in Korean language. It went for one and a half years, but stopped when the leader stepped down. We then took part in a hackathon, and storage was a common problem for all of us. That was how we came up with Keep to solve the problem.
Sophie is a new member who joined us in September. Before that, we had a developer who had to leave the team due to personal reasons. Dohun and I started to learn developing skills but we concluded that we need a developer. We were fortunate to find Sophie and we persuaded her to join us.
What is the biggest challenge you have encountered so far and how did you overcome them?
One of the biggest challenges was when we first visited the HDBs near NUS to do market research. We did door-knocking to ask around but were rejected a few times. For the first few houses we visited, the residents were not open enough to talk to strangers like us. It was challenging as our business depends on willingness of the residents to open up their house.
The first welcoming host was Mrs. Li. She was glad to meet us. She said that her house was pretty much empty because her son and daughter left her house after marriage. She wanted to become our Keeper even before we launch our website. We were taking selfies with Keepers we met, and she even changed her clothes to take photo with us.
How has NUS Enterprise supported you so far?
NUS Enterprise has supported us with a grant to sustain the business, infrastructure like meeting rooms and marketing support. Thanks to the grant, we could build our website and pay for the marketing. The Enterprise also connected us with various school offices so that we could get approval for marketing in NUS. In the past, we struggled to find a properly functioning meeting places in UTown and PGPR. The Hangar by NUS Enterprise is a great place for us to have meetings. We always appreciate NUS Enterprise for the endless support and look forward to further partnership.
What are the next steps in your plans?
This coming December break, we will test out our beta version in NUS, NTU, SMU and other schools and use the test result to develop a more user-friendly service. We are currently looking for seed funding to find more developers and build website/application. Ultimately, Keep strives to become the one-stop solution for self-storage.
Keep is an AirBnB for self-storage — where people who have spare storage space can list and rent out under-utilised space to storage seekers for money. Made up of international students who face storage issues every vacation, the team is passionate about solving the problem of self-storage in Singapore. Show your support and give Keep beta a try this vacation! Let’s Keep it!