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Meet Colin Keeley of Bevy in Chicagoland

Today we’d like to introduce you to Colin Keeley.

Colin, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
After moving back to Chicago a few years ago I found myself often driving to my parents’ house in the suburbs to pick stuff up and drop stuff off. I, like millions of urbanites, lived in a small apartment without any real storage space so I didn’t have any other choice.

After making this trip too many times I finally decided that it was crazy. I should be able to access everything I want when I want it. I tested the idea on tons of friends/classmates and refined it until we landed on Bevy’s concept. I took Bevy through Chicago Booth’s New Venture Challenge and have been steadily ramping up since then.

Has it been a smooth road?
Startups are never easy. From the outside, it sometimes looks like things are always up and to the right, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Getting the word out initially about Bevy was hard. There is a lot of noise in the world and breaking through is tougher every day. The hardest part about startups is really convincing those first few customers to buy from you. Going from 0 to 1 sucks. It is much easier to take things from 7 to 10 once the company is a real thing.

We have also struggled to put investors in the mindset of millennials. Our customers are using Uber to get around, Netflix for TV, and Spotify for Music. They prefer being able to access everything at the push of a button and not having to own any of it. We are on a mission to build a world where you aren’t restricted by the things you own. A world without ownership seems crazy to some people, much like sharing a stranger’s car or home did a few years ago. For others, that future is completely obvious and they are bought in immediately.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Bevy provides everything you need, but don’t want to own, for amazing experiences. We curate the best and easiest to use equipment in our online store, bring it right to your door when you need it, and take it back when you’re done. We actually own all the equipment so we can make sure that everything we send out is in great shape.

If you want to go camping this weekend you don’t have to spend $1,000 on camping gear. We will drop off the best tent, the best grill, the best sleeping bags, and cool things you wouldn’t even think of like headlamps and marshmallow roasting sticks for the ultimate camping experience. When you’re done we will take it all back.

Then the next weekend if you are having a friend over we will bring you a really nice inflatable mattress, towels, and linens to give your guest the hotel experience. And then the next weekend if you want to go to the beach we will bring you everything you need to have an amazing time there. All these products are curated into bundles for experiences to make it as easy as possible.

We are enabling people to live as if they owned all this specialized equipment and do amazing activities that weren’t really an option before.

How do you, personally, define success? What’s your criteria, the markers you’re looking out for, etc?
In the long term, Bevy will be a successful company when people start making buying decisions based on us. We want people to think “Should I really buy this or should I just bevy it?” We deeply believe, and science supports, that people are way better off when they spend more money on experiences and less on physical things.

In the short term, we see little successes every day when Bevy enables people to create memories with their friends and family. Every time a customer tells us a story or shares a photo of a camping trip with their family, karaoke with their friends, or their grandma trying virtual reality for the first time we count that as a success.

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