Stuf Storage Co-Founder and CEO Katharine Lau on Going After the $48B Self-Storage Industry

The Crunchbase “Female Leader Series” is comprised of stories, Q&As and thought-leadership pieces from glass-ceiling-smashers who overcame the odds and are now leading successful companies.

Katharine Lau is CEO and co-founder of Stuf, a next-generation self-storage startup recently recognized as one of Fast Company’s list of The World’s Most Innovative Companies in 2022. Stuf partners with real estate owners to monetize underutilized space in commercial buildings as inviting, tech-enabled storage powered by hospitality-inspired service. 

Lau is passionate about reinventing consumer experiences in the physical world and leads the company’s vision and overall strategy in transforming the self-storage industry. Prior to founding Stuf, Lau led supply growth at Industrious, the nation’s largest premium shared-workplace provider, and pioneered an “industry first” asset and liability-light growth strategy. 

In this Q&A, Lau shares her journey to entrepreneurship, advice for aspiring entrepreneurs and her experience simultaneously running a startup and growing her family. 

Q: What inspired you to start your company? 

I lived in Hong Kong and Shanghai during my teenage years and saw entire cityscapes change overnight. I have been drawn to real estate ever since and made a career out of it. What I learned early on is that there are tons of underutilized real estate in commercial buildings all around us; and more often than not, it has set empty for years. That revelation inspired a years-long search for the right idea to breathe new life into these spaces. 

The “aha” moment came during the pandemic. Spring (Read more...)