Rentbrella is Hoping it’s Fate isn’t the same as it’s Chinese Counterpart!
Would you rent an umbrella if it is raining outside? Of course you would and Rentbrella is giving people that option. However, Rentbrella isn’t the first company to go into the umbrella rental business. The first attempt was a complete disaster!
In 2017, a Chinese startup called E Umbrella lost all of its 300,000 umbrellas in less than a week. Why? E Umbrella’s customers didn’t bother to return the umbrellas once the weather cleared up.
E Umbrella did not have kiosks to store the umbrellas and did not charge users a fee if they failed to return the rented umbrella.
This is where Rentbrella is different. They’ve taken the bad fortune of E Umbrella and built upon it’s failure.
Rentbrella, an app that was initially launched in Brazil in 2018, is setting up automat-like kiosks stocked with 100 umbrellas each across the New York City, and rentals are free for the first 24 hours.
New Yorkers use Rentbrella’s phone app to scan codes that allow them to unlock and return umbrellas at different kiosks. A service aimed at commuters who find themselves in a pinch and don’t want to shell out $10 or $15 for a bodega parasol, according to co-founder Freddy Marcos.
“Our model is very simple, they take an umbrella, they go home, then the next day they return it.”Freddy Marcos
If customers don’t return the umbrella within 24 hours, they’re charged $2 for the second day and another $2 for the third day.
If they still haven’t returned the umbrella after four days, they’re charged $16 and can keep the umbrella forever.
It’s a model that Marcos said has worked in São Paulo, where the company has nearly 400 stations and is turning a profit thanks largely to ads from a health insurance company called Unimed.
Although the umbrella rental company doesn’t have any sponsors in New York yet, they plan to start selling ad space when they reach 100 stations.
The current rental stations are mostly located in Manhattan office and residential towers, Rentbrella’s founder said he would love to eventually place them in subway stations across the five boroughs.
Rentbrella plans to launch in London in early 2022 and would like to expand to other cities in the US and Europe. The company is funding the expansion with about $7 million from backers located mostly in Brazil, including family offices and venture capital funds, according to the founder.
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