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SoftBank Group Corp. Chairman and CEO Masayoshi Son speaks during a press conference on May 9, 2018 in Tokyo, Japan.
SoftBank’s Vision Fund has poured billions of dollars into real estate technology, from its massive stake in co-working space provider WeWork to the hundreds of millions of dollars in online platforms Opendoor and Compass.
The Vision Fund’s latest big bet is in another corner of the real estate market: storage.
SoftBank said Wednesday it led a $200 million funding round in Clutter, which provides storage services, including the picking up and dropping off of a customer’s items. The cash infusion values Clutter, post-investment, at $600 million.
Justin Wilson, a Vision Fund director, is joining Clutter’s board. He told CNBC the company thinks of real estate as a service and called Clutter a “novel model” that’s taking on the $38 billion U.S. storage market, which is mostly “just boxes.” Clutter lets users book space on the web, arrange for inventory to be picked up and have items returned when they’re needed, while also providing pictures of the stored items.
“There’s a warehouse and lock and you show up and take it out,” Wilson said. “You have to struggle to find a dolly, beg friends and family. The consumer experience is pretty poor.”
Early news of the funding was reported by TechCrunch.
Ari Mir, Clutter’s co-founder and CEO, said the fresh capital will allow the company to grow in existing markets like Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco, expand to new cities like Philadelphia and deepen its investment in infrastructure and technology.