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By J.D. Houvener
Patent Attorney and Founder

Matt: My name is Matt Gronberg,

Sam: And I’m Sam Chason. We’re here today seeking $250,000 for 5% of our company, Storage Scholars.

Matt: So, think back to your first year of college. It’s the last week of school, you’re saying goodbye to all the new friends you just met, and you’re up late studying when you get a text message from Mom: “Hey, good luck on your last exam tomorrow, sweetie. Are you all set to move out?”

Sam: The panic sets in. You don’t have a car to buy boxes, you haven’t reserved that storage unit, and you don’t even remember how that sectional couch got into your dorm room. Well, that’s where we come in.

Matt: You can simply go online and create an account. You can add your parent to overlook your order information, pay a $50 fully refundable deposit, and we’ll handle your entire move-out for you.

Sam: Students are given boxes, tape, bubble wrap, and labels on campus a week before final exams. They pack up their belongings, lock up their room, and go home.

Matt: We have a partnership with their university to unlock that room once the campus is empty and move everything into storage for the summer.

Sam: We’ll even have all their belongings ready and waiting in their new room when they return to campus the following semester.

Matt: So, Sam, who does all this moving?

Sam: That’s the best part. All the moving is done by trained fellow students, creating high-paying jobs on campus.

Matt: So, Sharks, as two 18-year-olds terrified at the thought of student debt, we built Storage Scholars in college, which allowed each of us to graduate debt-free. Who’s ready to join us on our mission to empower students across America to do the same?

Kevin: Mhm, wow, alright. How many colleges have you guys signed up?

Sam: On 23 college campuses.

Lori: Where are you currently?

Matt: We’re at a variety of colleges ranging all the way from New York down to Texas. It started at our alma mater, Wake Forest University. We grew in the Carolinas and then spread our footprint.

Mark: How much does the total move cost?

Matt: It averages out to $559 for the whole service. That includes boxes, tape, packing supplies delivered on campus, pickup, storage for four months, delivery, and $100 of complimentary insurance on every item.

Kevin: I’m assuming you’re paying the college to get into their service?

Matt: Our strategy as a business is to partner with colleges to get their full endorsement and create this total key-access pack-it-lock-it-leave-it experience.

Kevin: Where are my revenues?

Matt: Where are my costs?

Matt: Our costs are about $199, which includes all the boxes, tape, packing supplies, labor, warehousing, everything. We’re the only ones I know of doing the full key-access system where they pack it, lock it, and

Demon: Nobody else is doing key access,

Matt: Not with the students and with the technology. We have our own custom-built technology, which is what allows us to maintain our 4.8-star ratings.

Kevin: What’s the custom technology?

Matt: It’s a web app, built by his brother, a full-stack developer, over the last six years. Essentially, it automates much of our process, enabling us to handle 3,300 moves across 23 campuses in nine states at the exact same week every year and nail it every time.

Demon: Impressive.

Lori: Tell us about your background and why you came up with this.

Sam: I grew up in a family of two high school teachers, where education was highly valued. But when I decided on Wake Forest University, $70,000 a year, I was looking at over $100,000 in student loans. I always knew that starting a business in college would be my path to financial freedom.

Matt: That’s awesome. Those guys seem very cool. Wake Forest is a great school.

JD: Yeah, I was impressed, especially when they talked about their technology. They mentioned their own secure web app. I searched their name in the patent database, no patents filed or issued. But you don’t have to have a patent to be successful. You can keep trade secrets, and that’s likely what they’re doing, under proprietary contractual agreements and confidentiality agreements, very successfully. Especially for software like this, where uniqueness may not be easily discernible, they’ve made it work for themselves, and it’s been used and kept as a trade secret. I think it’s really well done.

Matt: Super cool. I’m looking at their website; my college is on there. Go Spiders, University of Richmond. It looks like they’ve been very successful. I don’t really love the name, but it is a registered trademark, which is fantastic. They just have registration for the word mark “Storage Scholars” in the transportation logistics class. You should probably have the logo registered at this point, given their valuation is $3 million. Back then, you should definitely have your logo registered. I’d like to see the mobile app protected as well and maybe some sort of software-as-a-service, depending on what goes on behind the scenes in the mobile application.

Matt: So, you didn’t see anything on the patent side?

JD: I did not. That’s something they should have discussed with an attorney early on when they got started in 2017. We don’t know, but you want to have that discussion with a patent attorney early to discuss if it’s something that’s going to run into Section 101 issues, particularly with software. There are eligibility concerns if it’s merely organizing and moving storage boxes on a computer.

Matt: Yeah, it’s a cool option. It’s a lot cheaper than shipping it back home. Living in Minnesota, going to school in Virginia,

JD: I don’t know any storage leases that are for a few months at a time. Typically, they try to lock you into a one-year deal with early termination fees; those places are brutal.

Matt: Storage Scholars reminds me of College Painters. Is that a thing?

JD: College Pro Painters, same type of thing. Let’s find some college kids looking for work.

JD: I love that. It makes sense.

Matt: Super cool. Nice find, JD. That’s a good one. I like that one, and it had a happy ending.

JD: It was on Season 14, just a few months ago. Sometimes those deals get done on TV but not on paper, so hopefully, they followed through. Looks like they’re still selling online, so we’ll do a recap on them if something pops up later.

Matt: They’ve had registration since 2019, I believe, but no attorney of record. Boys, if you’re listening, call me. We need to renew this trademark at some point.

JD: We’re here to help.

About the Author
J.D. Houvener is a Registered USPTO Patent Attorney who has a strong interest in helping entrepreneurs and businesses thrive. J.D. leverages his technical background in engineering and experience in the aerospace industry to provide businesses with a unique perspective on their patent needs. He works with clients who are serious about investing in their intellectual assets and provides counsel on how to capitalize their patents in the market. If you have any questions regarding this article or patents in general, consider contacting J.D. at https://boldip.com/contact/