The KAEO Startups series features entrepreneurs and the businesses they are creating in the sports industry. Click here or the logo to see of all previously featured startups.
KAEO The Details:
Name: The Mobile Locker Co.
Launched: March 2014
Founder: Molly MacDonald
Concept: Secure, convenient personal storage for road races and other outdoor events.
Email: Email The Mobile Locker Co.
As it has for the last several years, the number of participants in road races is poised to grow over the next few years. From local community 5Ks to the 25,000+ participants at the Airbnb Brooklyn Half Marathon this weekend, runners make up one of the fastest growing participant sports in America.
Therefore, it’s likely you’ve experienced the problem that Molly MacDonald set out to solve: what to do with all of your personal belongings during a race. Most races worth their entry fee have some kind of baggage drop area but these areas are intended for a change of clothes, not personal or valuable items like a watch, phone, or keys. Race organizers encourage runners to leave personal items at home. At the very least, runners have a few personal items on them at all times like car keys and their license. Just a few items in your pockets and running becomes much more difficult. Even if a runner feels comfortable leaving their valuables in their bag, bag check areas are prime targets for theft, especially when anyone can see into the clear bags which many larger races have switched to using.
Molly MacDonald, a former club lacrosse player at Arizona State and Massachusetts native, created The Mobile Locker Co. to give runners a place to store their valuables during a race.
The Mobile Locker Co. works just like it sounds: the runner receives a dedicated locker with a key/padlock that only she has access to until the end of the race event. All of the lockers are stored on a big truck which makes moving the lockers from event to event more seamless.
The Mobile Locker Co. generally rents lockers directly to the runners and relies on the race directors and pre-race communications to get the word out about the lockers to the runners. On some occasions, events have rented the entire truck for their runners in advance, making the lockers an added perk of the race.
Molly and The Mobile Locker Co. spend most of the spring, summer, and fall running seasons setting up at races throughout New England. In addition to local community races, they have formed partnerships with some of New England’s largest races including the Hartford Marathon & Half Marathon, the Cox Providence Rhode Races, Boston’s Run To Remember, and the Shipyard Old Port Half Marathon in Portland, Maine. During the winter, Molly and her team packs up the trucks and heads down to Florida.
The mobile locker concept reaches far beyond running races and the company plans to expand into other events like triathlons, endurance events, and sporting events.
Molly originally launched the company as Blue Trailer Lockers in March 2014 and tested the idea for nine months. The trailer was a smaller initial investment than a truck and she was able to bootstrap the company through a personal loan. The company grew but faced several challenges throughout the first summer. For the most part, runners come prepared to races so Molly’s team had to work hard on changing runner behavior. They relied heavily on pre-race communication from the race directors, education on the value of the trailer at events, and a revenue share with the race directors to make the lockers mutually beneficial.
Eventually, runners began to expect to see the locker trailer at their local races.
In November of this past year, Molly bought a truck and rebranded the company as The Mobile Locker Co. They now have two trucks working events throughout New England.
As for the future, Molly plans to have 1-2 trucks in ten markets nationwide within five years. She is also planning on switching from a key/padlock system to a more automated system similar to the bike-share programs in major cities like New York and Boston. “As we head into the busy season of our second year, we’re seeing a lot of momentum in both New England and Florida and we want to capitalize on the potential in other regions that have strong running communities as well. We are putting plans in motion to have a national presence as the premium storage solution for road races and beyond – concerts, golf tournaments, professional football games; really any event with security concerns or a big volunteer operation. Right now, we’re working on perfecting our model and growing our team so we can enter each new market as seamlessly as possible.”
After rebranding the company as The Mobile Locker Co., Molly brought on two investors who are now also board members. The company currently has four business partners and will be looking for further investment soon.
More more information on The Mobile Locker Co., visit www.themobilelockerco.com.