Clutter, the Culver City-based on-demand storage company, announced a huge Series D funding round today. The news following weeks of speculation about the details of the deal, the largest LA has seen in the early days of 2019.
The whopping $200 million dollar round was led by Softbank Vision Fund, a subsidiary of SoftBank that is based in London and focuses on late-stage capital. Other notable beneficiaries of the fund include Uber, The We Company and Compass — looks like Clutter just became a card-carrying member of the tech glitterati.
The capital is expected to bolster Clutter’s expansion plans in 2019. The company expects to launch into Philadelphia, Portland and Sacramento in months to come, while doubling down on existing markets including Los Angeles, San Diego and Orange County. The moves come as part of Clutter’s larger goal of locking down storage markets in all major U.S. cities, as well as internationally.
We’ve become a market leader because we have great people, and we firmly believe that if we want to realize out long-term visions, we’re going to need even more great people.”
Storage is lucrative right now
According to a press release from the company, storage represents around $38 billion in annual business in the U.S. and accounts for more self-storage facilities than Starbucks and McDonald’s combined. (Built In LA has not confirmed that number, but based on purely anecdotal evidence believes it to be true.)
That tech companies are interested in solving the storage problem isn’t surprising. Other startups in the space include San Francisco-based Trove, Cubiq in Boston, and New York’s MakeSpace, which — with $57.6M in the warchest — is shaping up to be Clutter’s closest competitor. That is, until Amazon decides it wants in on the pie. (Kidding. Kind of.)
The SoftBank touch
Today’s round gives Clutter an edge on the competition and not just in a financial sense. SoftBank Vision Fund’s Justin Wilson will be joining the Clutter team as a board member and advisor as part of the deal.
“SoftBank’s investment is the ultimate vote of confidence. This puts us in a position to continue to lead the on-demand storage space and challenge the self-storage incumbents head on,” said CEO Ari Mir in a statement.
Clutter’s 2019 hiring plans (spoiler: they’re big)
A $200 million funding infusion means one thing more than all the rest: hiring. Clutter has plans to greatly expand its team in 2019, both in the company’s LA headquarters and in their facilities across the U.S.
“We’ve become a market leader because we have great people, and we firmly believe that if we want to realize out long-term visions, we’re going to need even more great people,” Ari Mir told Built In LA.
The company is hiring product managers, engineers and marketers in their Culver City office, as well as warehouse managers in their major markets, including New York, San Francisco and Chicago. Unlike traditional moving and storage companies, all Clutter employees — including movers, warehouse employees and sales agents — are full-time and receive benefits.
“Team building is something we take very seriously,” Mir told us when asked what the next nine months at Clutter would look like. “We spend countless hours getting to know candidates and helping them getting to know us. So that naturally means that it becomes the majority of your time as a leader — not only my time, but my leadership team’s time.
“Given this new $200 million capital investment, the need for more people is big,” he added.