Oklahoma native creates online marketplace for space 

click to enlarge Cindy Convery poses for a photo in the Seiber Lobby, Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2016. - GARETT FISBECK
  • Garett Fisbeck
  • Cindy Convery poses for a photo in the Seiber Lobby, Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2016.

Few people can boast an Eastern European film crew used their garage and backyard as a film location.

However, Oklahoma native Cindy Convery is one of the few.

While Convery hasn’t seen the film to confirm the scene made it to the final cut, she can verify the earnings by simply making the space available. It wasn’t the first time Convery turned a profit with her Southern California two-car garage. A neighbor booked the space for short-term storage.

That’s how Convery’s garage sparked the creation of Raw Space for Rent, an online community marketplace that connects people looking to rent space.

“I was looking for a business, and I wanted to do something that added to the community,” Convery said during a recent interview with Oklahoma Gazette. “This idea popped up.”

Convery’s idea was simple and based on Airbnb, which allows property owners to rent out a room through a peer-to-peer rental site. Convery expanded the idea to spaces, like garages, attics, sheds, patios, backyards, gardens and offices. Even the open space under a bed or the top of a closet could be listed on her website.

Peer-to-peer services like Airbnb and ride-sharing services Uber and Lyft are credited with helping hosts and drivers earn some extra money. No monthly fees are required to list services, but a small transaction fee is taken during bookings. Raw Space for Rent joins the list of peer-to-peer services as another outlet for boosting incomes. The website works to connect those with unused space to those in need of space.

“The site can be used for anything,” Convery said. “Someone rented space for storage of a snowboard for $25 during the offseason. Another person rented out the trunk of their car.”

Raw Space for Rent goes beyond sports equipment or available storage space and includes listings for rooftops, backyards and lounges, which have served as rentals for weddings, meetings, family reunions and other special events.

Sooner launch

In recent years, Oklahoma City has nabbed top rankings as one of the best places to launch a business or a startup. Convery, an Ada native, wasn’t aware Oklahoma’s largest city was an entrepreneurial haven when she decided to promote the website in Oklahoma City this year.

During test runs in California and New York, Convery envisioned Raw Space for Rent finding success in the Midwest, where people tend not to let anything go to waste and are always willing to lend a helping hand. With Oklahoma roots, Convery settled on the Sooner State as the site’s launching point. Now, Convery spends two weeks a month here, finding new spaces to add and encouraging people to scroll through the listings.

In Oklahoma City, Raw Space for Rent visitors can find studio rehearsal spaces, vehicle storage venues, downtown rooftops, a chapel, classroom spaces, offices, event spaces and more.

“People love it,” Convery said during a visit inside The Seiber building lobby in Midtown.

The restored 1928 luxury lounge could facilitate a group of 80 people for a special event.

“If they’ve used Airbnb, they immediately understand it,” Convery said.

Oklahoma has served as the perfect place to launch, Convery said. In the future, she sees Norman residents utilizing the website to rent their yards for tailgate parties and football game parking. College students in need of summer storage to house small furniture and a few boxes could be connected to residents with space in a basement, attic or garage.

The possibilities for Raw Space for Rent seem endless, said Convery, who said she gets an idea for a listing about every 10 minutes.

Print headline: In business, An Oklahoma native launches the next peer-to-peer online service company in the Sooner State.

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