Cut to the chase
“We wanted to find a software that was easy to use, easy to understand, and had an attractive portal for our investors.”
“The professional caliber of what we saw in Juniper Square, as well as the ease of use and the intuitive way we could navigate the dashboard, really set it apart.”
“Juniper was able to step in and support us in raising tens of millions of dollars within a fund model—and that transition was flawless. Plus, the ability to do that in a cost-effective manner, where the price and service matched our needs, was really excellent.”
square feet of space
KO Storage began in 2016 with the purchase of a single distressed storage facility in Wisconsin by Andrew Freeman and Jon Marshalla—partners in a successful e-commerce business. With a surplus of capital and a shared affinity for real estate, the pair leapt at the chance to invest in the commercial property, which they found in a Craigslist ad.
Today, the company owns 145 facilities, comprising nearly 30,000 units and almost 5 million square feet across 20 states. They continue to actively scale their portfolio through both acquisition and new construction, earning them the #28 spot on the Inside Self-Storage Top Operators List 2022.
“I think we’re going to see consolidation in this industry continue in the next two to four years, and I think we’re well positioned to take advantage of it. We’ve done two funds so far and there’s no reason to think we can’t continue to do two to three per year until that pipeline dries up.”
Andrew and Jon quickly realized that self-storage was the inverse of many other asset classes, in that 75% of the industry was mom-and-pop operations—a fragmented group that had been slow to adapt to new technology. Recognizing the opportunity for consolidation, they got to work scaling their business.
“Jon and I jumped in headfirst and touched every single moving piece of the business,” Andrew said. “I answered the phones for a few years. I did all the bookkeeping. I handled all the operations.” It soon became evident that growing their business would be very difficult using their existing manual processes.
“We were using Excel and QuickBooks to track everything,” said Jon. “We need to communicate with our investors quarterly to share documentation and things like that. And if you look in our portal, we have more than 50 entities and north of 900 positions. So, as you can imagine, trying to manage that many contact points through Excel presented quite a few challenges.”
The partners decided to search for a technology solution that could help support their operations. “We wanted to find a software that was easy to use, easy to understand, and had an attractive portal for our investors,” Jon said, adding that it was also important that the solution was set up to scale with the business as it grew. “We didn't want to sign up for software that we might outgrow.”
Andrew and Jon said that Juniper Square has allowed them to provide the type of elevated investor experience that helps KO Storage stand out in a crowded sea of competitors. “The investor-facing aspect of the portal has been incredible,” Jon explained, “as well as the efficiencies it provides us. The ability to aggregate all the data, the relevant information, the communications, the emails, the payments… it allows us to manage everything in an intelligent way and gives us the credibility that puts us on the same playing field as a multibillion-dollar syndication offering.”
“Not having to manually process so much of our work has given us time back to focus on deal sourcing, review, analysis, etc.” agreed Andrew.
The professional caliber of what we saw in Juniper Square, as well as the ease of use and the intuitive way we could navigate the dashboard, really set it apart.”
“We started as a very small single-purpose entity, where we were raising a couple hundred thousand,” Jon said. “Juniper Square was able to step in and support us in raising tens of millions of dollars within a fund model. And that transition was flawless. Plus, the ability to do that in a cost-effective manner, where the price and service matched our needs, was really excellent.”
For their second fund, KO Storage raised nearly $50 million from 140 subscribers in a matter of weeks using Juniper Square’s data room and subscription service. “I was able to get all 140 people to subscribe to the fund and got them using the platform in a few hours,” Jon said. “If I would've had to manually create every single DocuSign envelope, circulate those individually, and go through the accreditation steps and validations with our attorneys, I imagine it would've taken me 10 to 20 times longer.”
Jon said that KO Storage has raised more money in the past year than they did in the previous three years combined, and they credit this success in part to Juniper Square. “To be able to raise that kind of money in that of a short period of time without the right tool in place would likely not have been possible,” he said.
If you're looking for a partnership with an organization that backs their software, responds to your needs in a quick fashion, and will give you a high level of support in a cost-effective way, Juniper Square’s the right solution. I don't see myself using another software in the future.”