Small Business Spotlight: A Convenient Way To Store Your Stuff With Bounce

August 14, 2018 - 5:00 pm
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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- Have you ever gone out after work, or traveled to another city, and wished you didn’t have to schlep your stuff around with you?

Sometimes, it leads people to leave their bags at work unwillingly – or it even leads people to call off their plans altogether.

But the founders of Bounce have stepped in with a solution.

“Bounce is short-term storage on every block of the city, hosted by local businesses that have extra space,” chief executive officer and co-founder Cody Candee explained to WCBS 880’s Joe Connolly in this week’s “Small Business Spotlight.”

Bounce App

Bounce does not use lockers, but rather partners with retail shops that have extra space for storage.

“Right now, we have lots of travelers in New York and San Francisco and Chicago that are using Bounce to store their extra stuff, as well as local natives that live in those cities, that maybe they don’t want to take their briefcase to the Yankees game, so they want to drop off their stuff before they go out and do something for the rest of their day,” explained Lisa Rosenblum, who handles public relations and marketing for Bounce.

The idea behind the name is that people can bounce their belongings away to a storage space, and bounce it back when they need it back, Candee explained.

“I think there’s a few things that made this an idea where now is the time. First, part of it with brick-and-mortar retailers is they’re getting squeezed, so the extra revenue we give them is particularly enticing at this point in time,” Candee said. “Additionally, I think the sharing economy paved the way for a lot of this. So Airbnb and Uber – these were both crazy ideas when they started, you know, get in some random person’s car; go sleep on some random person’s couch. And so now, this sort of mentality, everyone knows it.

Candee noted that upon founding Bounce, he and his cofounder approached a lot of stores to get them onboard as partners. But just a couple of months later, the stores were coming to Bounce.

“It started out with one small business owner making a lot of money on Bounce, and then telling her friend who had another business, and then the word just spread,” Candee said.

Stores do not pay to partner with Bounce. In fact, it is Bounce that pays the stores.

“There’s a couple of things – first, the customer pays us per bag stored per day, and we charge $6, and then we share some of that commission with the store, and then any foot traffic – any extra sales they get from that customer is an added bonus to them,” Candee said.

How much the partner retail store takes in depends on whether the store drives traffic for Bounce itself or if Bounce brings the traffic. Candee said Bounce can afford to give 50 percent to the stores.

“I was pitching a store a couple months ago and I said, ‘Hey, we’ll drive traffic to your store, blah, blah, blah,’ – I gave them the whole pitch. And they said: ‘This sounds great. How much does it cost to be on Bounce?’ And I said, ‘Oh actually, we pay you,’” Candee said.

Bounce users usually find the company organically, as they search for apps that will find them somewhere to leave their belongings near a given destination. Meanwhile on the marketing and pubic side, Rosenblum said Bounce couples its own services with travel information.

“Just amazing things to do in New York and San Francisco; what’s going on in the city. We’ve partnered with some travel bloggers that will talk about free things in New York, or travel hacks to guide you through New York – so downloading like the subway app and using Bounce and bringing a selfie stick – stuff like that,” she said.

Bounce’s marketing focuses on content rather than hard selling, and also involves a lot of promo links that provide discounts for users, Rosenblum said.

“We both travel a lot, and so we always need a service like this when we’re in different cities, so we’re just really passionate about being able to drop our stuff off and go to a museum and not have to lug your stuff around, because sometimes that can really ruin your day if you’re trying to see as much as you can in a city,” she said.

Candee said he first came up with the idea for Bounce back in 2014 – just with the philosophy in mind that “people’s things always hold them down, and there needs to be a tech solution that solves that.” But his original plan was not the one that ended up working out.

“The original idea was just like calling an Uber – someone comes and picks up your stuff and then brings it back to you when you want it. But what I didn’t like about that solution is how capital-intensive it would be; really logistically complex,” he said. “And so I just sat on it for a while, and then I was chatting with Aleks, my cofounder, and we were both so passionate about this vision; this problem of things holding people back, and we were like, ‘There’s got to be something here.’ And so we got together. We started testing; we started putting some prototypes out there, and then ultimately, we landed on this.”

But as the business has evolved, Bounce is now working with a partner who could potentially provide pickups and drop-offs, Candee said.

As to its growth strategy, Candee noted that Bounce is a tech company first – which means building the tools to be able to manage a large scale.

“It was easy when we had a dozen store partners. We knew them all by name, and you know, pretty soon we’re going to have hundreds, and then thousands, and so, it’s really about building the tools to manage that at scale,” he said. “We can manage quality with our rating system. We can manage, you know, who’s on the platform; how they onboard themselves via certain tools, and as well as on the demand side. So it’s really about making it a streamlined industry; as efficient as you.”

Before founding Bounce, Candee worked as a product manager for Intuit in Silicon Valley.

“So I spent my whole life; my whole career in technology. I love building things, as does my co-founder,” he said.

Meanwhile, Rosenblum had an unorthodox entry into her journey to becoming a marketing guru.

“I drove around in an Oscar Mayer Wienermobile for a year, and lived in 26 states that year as a brand master for the Wienermobile,” she said. “And then after that, I worked at a fashion company as a sales director the last four years. So now I took some time off to travel, so I’ve been traveling and helping out with Bounce as well.”

Bounce now has 60 storage locations in New York.