Finding somewhere to store your stuff as a student can be painful and storage companies are not tailored to a younger demographic. Storage Scholars is different as it provides an easy way for students to ship their stuff to school and store it for the summer. Founders Sam Chason and Matt Gronberg appeared on Shark Tank and got a deal with Mark Cuban. As of 2024, Storage Scholars is worth $2.5 million.
About the Founders
Matt Gronberg is from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, while Sam Chason is from Austin, Texas. The pair met as students at Wake Forest University. Matt studied biochemistry and molecular biology, and his partner pursued business and enterprise management.
Apart from starting a business, they did several things together in college. Both became members of the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity, where they also became organizers of social and philanthropic events. Sam and Matt graduated from the class of 2020.
Founding the Company
To fund his studies, Chason wanted to run a profitable side hustle. He noticed that most international students only brought two big suitcases with them. The rest of their things were bought near campus, but there was no storage for them during the summer.
In 2017, he launched Storage Scholars, helping students move their things and have a safe place to store them for the summer break. Later on, Sam hired Matt as the COO.
Together, they partnered with several organizations and schools to expand their business. They reached new states but initially decided to stay in areas near North Carolina to maintain the quality of their service.
Shark Tank Appearance
Sam and Matt gave a confident pitch and did a great job clearly explaining their business. This year alone, they partnered with 15 schools and added new members to their executive team. Crucially they have full key access to customers’ accommodation and a web app that allows them to scale their operations.
Both guys have been able to clear their student debt with the profits. The fact the company had $1.826 million in year-to-date sales impressed the Sharks and a bidding war soon broke out.
Kevin O’Leary offered $250,000 for 10% and Daymond matched Kevin’s offer. Robert upped the stakes and offered $500,000 for the same equity. The founders eventually struck a deal of $250,000 for 10% with Mark Cuban.
After Shark Tank
The episode aired in October 2023 and the positive PR from being on television has been huge for them, The strategy of targeting a particular audience is working well. Speed will be crucial for the company and they will need to sacrifice profits to partner with new universities. Cuban will probably need to invest more capital within the next year to fund the growth.
Storage Scholar served 23 campuses in the past academic year and is now in universities such as Elon University, Davidson College, UNC, High Point University, and Duke University. By Summer 2023, they are expecting to be in 50 schools and will make well over $2 million. They’ve now served over 7,800 customers and have paid out $804,000 in student wages.
The company has gone from 2 to 7 full-time employees over the last year and employs 400 part-time students. The student storage service has a 4.8 average star rating from over 3,500 customers on its website, StorageScholar.com. Currently, the company is valued at $2.5 million.