The Daily Northwestern

Litterbox aims to give students an affordable summer storage option

From+left+to+right%3A+Northwestern+students+Yash+Agrawal%2C+Peter+Dorward%2C+Nico+Finkelstein+and+Sanfeng+Wang.+The+four+students+are+part+of+Litterbox%2C+a+startup+that+aims+to+give+students+an+affordable+summer+storage+option.
From left to right: Northwestern students Yash Agrawal, Peter Dorward, Nico Finkelstein and Sanfeng Wang. The four students are part of Litterbox, a startup that aims to give students an affordable summer storage option.

From left to right: Northwestern students Yash Agrawal, Peter Dorward, Nico Finkelstein and Sanfeng Wang. The four students are part of Litterbox, a startup that aims to give students an affordable summer storage option.

Jonah Dylan/Daily Senior Staffer

Jonah Dylan/Daily Senior Staffer

From left to right: Northwestern students Yash Agrawal, Peter Dorward, Nico Finkelstein and Sanfeng Wang. The four students are part of Litterbox, a startup that aims to give students an affordable summer storage option.

Jonah Dylan, Campus Editor

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After his freshman year ended, Communication sophomore Sanfeng Wang was met with a dilemma: He had items he couldn’t bring home with him, but he didn’t want to pay upwards of $150 for storage.

This experience led Wang to found Litterbox, a summer storage company for students. The company works out of The Garage and is planning to offer its services this summer.

McCormick sophomore Nico Finkelstein, another member of the Litterbox team, said he didn’t want to pay to store his things at the end of his freshman year, so he ended up hiding his belongings in his dorm’s basement.

“Basically because I didn’t want to spend $150, I had to go with something that had a lot less security, and that’s because there’s just no middle-ground option of a cheap, alternative storage solution,” he said. “So that’s why I hopped in on this idea.”

Litterbox’s motto is “Where Wildcats store their sh*t.” Wang said he’d originally planned the company to be an in-between for students who need to store items and those who have extra storage space in off-campus apartments, but concerns with insurance and security led Litterbox to develop into a more standard storage service.

The company has positioned itself as a cheaper option to University and Student Services, and its website compares its prices to USS’s, which are much higher. McCormick freshman Peter Dorward said the company recently started advertising and received its first order Monday.

Weinberg freshman Yash Agrawal, another member of the Litterbox team, said the company sets itself apart from USS because it’s entirely run by students.

“The main fundamental difference between USS and us is that we’re a student-run business, whereas USS is some external company that works with several universities,” he said. “Just inherently, being a student-run business, when you’re giving us business you’re supporting Northwestern students.”

Along with a few other members, Wang pitched the idea for Litterbox during a program called Launch during Fall Quarter. The five members continued to develop Litterbox throughout the academic year and recently made the change from a peer-to-peer service to a standard storage service.

Dorward said they decided to make the change after realizing that costs might be too high with their old system.

“People don’t care where their items are being stored, it’s not like an Airbnb,” he said. “What they care about is that they’re secure, and by having them in a storage unit, they’re more secure and we’re able to offer cheaper prices as well which just equates to a better value overall.”

Dorward added that Litterbox’s business model is sustainable because they don’t have to pay for storage units year-round. But Finkelstein said moving forward, the company hopes to expand further to help students with storage year-round.

“We plan on, if everything goes well, to extend to the study abroad seasons. So then maybe continue the services during the fall, during winter and spring study abroads if the demand is there,” Finkelstein said.

Email: jonahdylan2020@u.northwestern.edu
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