Though it’s sometimes common to downplay “this for that” startups (that is, derivative startups that try and borrow a model and use it in another market), Storefront–which can be described as Airbnb for retail spaces–has just raised a $7.3 million Series A round.
Storefront is a marketplace for short term retail space (think pop-up shops). People with space simply create a listing and decide how much they would like to charge per day, per week or per month. In doing so, Storefront “helps all sorts of brands, sellers, and merchants to create their first brick and mortar retail experience.”
What I find interesting about Storefront, and other startups like Airbnb, is that they’re really rewriting the way real estate marketplaces work. Instead of large retail landlords (Storefront) and multinational hotel operators (Airbnb), technology is allowing individuals to now participate in these marketplaces. Supply is being decentralized and anyone with extra space can participate.
You could argue that these sorts of informal and short term rentals are nothing new, but I don’t think there’s ever been the possibility of scaling up like there is today. I mean, just look at how much attention Airbnb has been getting in New York. These startups are having an impact on the way the larger market functions.
Change is coming. And I think we’ll see a lot more of it in the real estate space.