US-based startup Clutter hit the news this week when it was announced that SoftBank had invested a cool $200 million in the firm, even though they had originally asked for just $100 million! It appears that SoftBank wanted to branch out into property and identified Clutter as an ideal vehicle for their purposes.

Clutter provide storage and transportation, including the collection and delivery of a customers’ items, all assisted by the use of intelligent software. Unlike conventional self-storage, Clutter provide the storage based on a bar code system so instead of a set storage unit, the clients items might be spread across aisles and shelves and they are even working on software that would allow the actual storage to be split across various sites, never more than 48 hours away, making full use of underutilised facilities and helping to keep prices down.

Uniquely they guarantee never to raise the price of the storage once they’ve accepted it!

SoftBank said the $200 million funding round in Clutter will see Clutter’s post-investment value rise to around $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.

This business model is what we would call ‘valet self storage’, and we already have several companies with similar models operating in the UK.