Storage company Omni now lets users share their belongings with friends

On-demand storage startup Omniwants to make it easier for you to have access to your favorite items without them taking up space in your closet. But now the company is taking a huge step toward inducing those items available to your friends, and to other people in your local community.

Omni is scarcely alone in the market for on-demand storage, with companies like Clutter, MakeSpace and Trovebringing those services online. But where Omni seeks to differentiate from other storage startups is in providing item-level categorization and access to its users stuff.

When you store your stuff with Omni, it doesnt simply sit in a box or crate collecting dust in a warehouse somewhere. The company goes through the process of photographing, identify, categorizing and adding each item to an inventory that can be managed in a mobile app. Users can choose to take items out of storage at any time, so long as they give the company at least two hours notice.

That allows Omni users who like to surf or bike or golf on the weekends to keep their sporting gear in storage when theyre not use it and take it out only when they need it. But now that the company has accrued a kind of critical mass of items, it wants to allow users to attain them available to friends and other people in their local community.

What were launching is the ability for you as the item owned to make any of your items available to your friends or to the local community, Omni VP of product and growth Ryan Delk says.For Omni, which has itemized more than 100,000 goods in the 18 months since launch, this was always part of its master plan.

We positioned ourselves as a storage company knowing that was a Trojan horse, Delk told me. According to him, Omni was able to accomplish this because everything happens on the item level.

In retrospect, the plan likely should have been obvious. After all, why go through the trouble of building infrastructure required to pick up items for storage, individually tag and categorize them, and add them to a cloud database of goods unless you would then allow users to actually do something with them?

Omni allows users to store small goods for $0.50 per item per month and large items for$ 3 a month. It also charges pick-up and delivery fees based on how soon a user wants to access something in their inventory. While its free to have goods picked up unless its a real rushing( 3 hours or less) Omni charges a$ 3 delivery fee for items that will be dropped off next day and $20 for items needed within 2 hours.

Due to the economics of its business, the stuff you store with Omni would probably not be the same type of thing youd throw into a box and forget about at your local self-storage warehouse. Based on its own categorization, Omni says that 29 percentage of items fall in the home goods and tools pail, with apparel constructing up another 25 percentage and sports and recreation accounting for 13 percentage of all goods.