Technology has made life easier for many people, especially when it comes to moving. The cost of moving can sometimes surpass the cost of rent in metropolitan cities like Cleveland, Columbus or Chicago.
Brandon Gotlieb of Orange High School in Pepper Pike and a junior at The Ohio State University in Columbus saw the need for affordable storage spaces that create opportunities for longtime residents in Columbus to connect with OSU students.
Gotlieb, a co-founder and chief business officer of NXTSTOR, whose family has built houses in the Cleveland area for more than 40 years, said the idea for the business, NXTSTOR, sprouted from an idea he had in high school.
“I was looking at sites like Airbnb and thought it would be cool if my family could get involved in that,” said Gotlieb, a member of The Temple-Tifereth Israel in Beachwood. “My parents didn’t like the idea of having strangers in their home, so I thought if we stored people’s stuff in our basement because it’s big, cold, and gross, we would still be able to help others save some money by keeping their storage costs down.”
Gotlieb’s idea soon manifested into a full-fledged business. In what he calls, “the cliché startup story,” he and his two roommates developed the blueprint for NXTSTOR in their freshman year of college. His roommates are Mike Gargasz, a junior from Amherst, and Ashwin Rajgopal, a junior from Mason.
“I was actually able to pitch the idea at an event and we received a lot of support from students,” said Gotlieb, 20. “The student body was the easiest appeal because we wanted to make things more affordable because the cost of storage in cities like Columbus and Chicago is ridiculous. People who store their items with us are saving more money and keeping their storage close.”
NXTSTOR has reached many homes in the Columbus area, which Gotlieb credits to the support from the Columbus startup community, as everyone within the community is always available to talk.
He also said the Jewish community, specifically in Cleveland, has been a great community to offer help and encouragement.
“Cleveland has been really incredible to us,” Gotlieb said. “Everyone in the Jewish community is so connected and you will always meet someone who knows your family from temple and is willing to help you out. I’m starting to see that in Columbus, too, which is exciting.”
NXTSTOR’s staff consists of four members who are students at OSU.
Gotlieb said juggling a business, school and a full-time job have come with challenges since beginning NXTSTOR.
“Our peak season is always during finals season, so when big projects like that come up, it can be hard to balance everything,” he said. “My professors have luckily been really understanding and they get that I’m always listening to them, but I have to get work done at the same time.”
As NXTSTOR continues to venture to other cities, Gotlieb said his family’s entrepreneurial spirit is what helps drive him to find new ways to make the company better.
“I never knew a time when my family didn’t work for themselves,” he said. “They have always instilled in me that if I had a vision in mind that was cool and I could continue to grow from it, I should do it.”
Elizabeth Randolph is a freelance writer from Columbus.