SpaceCadet is the Airbnb of Storage

SpaceCadet is a San Antonio-based company that is changing the way the storage industry does business with tech, know-how and and hard work.

Sara Inés Calderón | July 12, 2014 | 3:24 pm

Networking is awesome — we had a chance to meet Steven Quintanilla at our San Antonio meet and greet, and he told us about his startup based there, SpaceCadet. Quintanilla is one of the co-founders of the company which bills itself the “Airbnb of storage.”

An MIT grad, Quintanilla spent time in Boston, and Austin, before settling in San Antonio to start building companies. He told us that he feels his education helped him understand the need for him to not only work, but create jobs by starting his own company. He shared with us some things he’s learned since becoming an entrepreneur, principally, make sure you’re not creating a solution for a problem that doesn’t exist. Check out some other cool tidbits.

MW: What does your company do?

SC: At SpaceCadet we believe that life’s extras should not be a hassle, and we’re working to eliminate wasted space. To do this, we’re using our share economy, software development, and commercial real estate backgrounds to create an online marketplace for people looking to store things to be matched up with vacant space.

For landlords, we provide a seamless way to turn their empty space into a cash flow so as to offset some of their property expenses. We get the word out about the space, manage payment collection, and deal with inventory control so they don’t have to worry about the hassle. For renters, we match them up with a place to store their stuff that is secure, in a convenient location, accessible when they need it, and on terms that keep it flexible for them.

By leveraging our communal resources, SpaceCadet is able to find all of this for up to 50% off what they would normally pay at traditional storage options.

MW: How did you come up with the idea?

SC: The original concept for SpaceCadet was developed during 3 Day Startup hosted at Geekdom, a collaborative workspace in San Antonio, Texas to disrupt the antiquated $26 billion storage industry .

What AirBnB is to lodging, SpaceCadet is to storage.

MW: Why did you decide to become an entrepreneur?

SC: Being an entrepreneur allows me to stay true to where I am from, use what MIT taught me about being progressive, and gives me the freedom to work when, where, and how I want — so long as results happen.

MW: Why San Antonio?

SC: What makes San Antonio so exciting is that I believe the city is going through a cultural Renaissance in all aspects. Some of the many areas this can be seen in are the food and beverage industry, the tech sector, the arts, and in how many entrepreneurs are springing up throughout the city. Geographically, San Antonio is central to the East and West coasts of the US, as well as a hub for activity between the US and Mexico.

When you combine all of this with the fact that San Antonio is the seventh largest city in the country and the large sense of the community the city is built on, it makes for a hotbed of opportunity and potential. It’s evolving into an upgraded version of itself, and if I can be a positive contribution to it’s development I feel honored and obligated to do so.

MW: What are the 3 things you’ve learned/what are 3 pieces of advice you have for other would-be entrepreneurs?

SC: 1.) Controlled Enthusiasm over Blind Passion. While it is necessary to be passionate about what we are doing, many times entrepreneurs (including myself) can often find ourselves working to keep our “baby” from failing instead of adapting to solve a problem. By having controlled enthusiasm instead of blind passion, it allows us to maintain some objectivity and know when to stop. Not only can this help save time and energy, it also helps us remember to use our time to produce and recharge(both of which are necessary in the entrepreneurial world). 

2.) Hypothesize, Plan, Execute, Stop, Repeat. I [treat] my startup like an experiment. This not only ensures I learn and move forward, it also keeps me from getting discouraged when I don’t hit a milestone within a given time frame or budget (my initial assumption may have been off, but I could still have done some great work). Doing and making mistakes will get you further and help you learn faster than a perfect plan will every time.

3.) Start with the Problem. At a previous startup I founded I raised funding and had team members who were recruited by Google, Microsoft, and Groupon — we even had an MIT professor working with us. Ultimately though, we ended up in a position where we had a solution without a clearly identified problem, and in the startup world that is basically the kiss of death. What I learned was that we were trying to mold our people to our product instead of actually identifying and addressing the pain point they were feeling.

About Sara Inés Calderón (183 Posts)

Sara Inés Calderón is a journalist and writer who lives between Texas and California. Follow her on Twitter @SaraChicaD.

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