Rentbrella Keeps The Drops Off Your Head – For Free If You Return It In Time

If you’ve ever left the house, you can relate: It starts to rain and you don’t have an umbrella.

You can find something to shield yourself (the ol’ coat over the head). Or grab the umbrella you brought with you. Whoops, you forgot it? Maybe you can find one at a local store, before you’re soaked to the bone.

Or if you’re in Manhattan, New York City, you can grab one from a Rentbrella share station. Use the umbrella to free for 24 hours or keep it for an extra $2 per day. After three days, you’ll be charged $16 and can keep it forever.

Besides Manhattan, where there are more than 35 Rentbrella sharing stations in high-traffic areas, Rentbrella also has 400-plus sharing stations with 40,000 umbrellas across São Paulo, Brazil, where it got its start in 2018. And the mobility and technology company has plans for many more locations.

“We have an ambitious expansion plan with the goal of expanding to dozens of cities across the U.S. and Europe over the next few years,” says Freddy Marcos, who cofounded Rentbrella with Nathan Janovich.

MORE FOR YOU

“In the United States, we see cities like Seattle, Chicago, Atlanta, Miami, Philadelphia, Washington, Houston, Boston, among others,” Marcos says. “In Europe, we’re starting in London in the first half of 2022 and then moving to other rainy and highly populated cities.”

Speaking from experience, you never seem to have an umbrella when you need it. It may be in your car, but you forgot to bring it with you. Or maybe you bought one during a rainy business trip … and left it in your hotel room.

Recycling Plastic

Not only is Rentbrella convenient, if you’re in the right place, but they’re made from recycled PET bottles, sourced from China, Marcos says.

Rentbrella was founded with the goal of reducing waste by minimizing the number of umbrellas manufactured and discarded in the world through shared consumption (33 million umbrellas are made per year in North America, according to an umbrella service in Vancouver).

You can find Rentbrella sharing stations using a smartphone app, just like other shareable items in cities (including electric scooters).

“We think about sustainability in every aspect of our product,” Marcos says.

“One, the umbrella fabric is made from recycled PET bottles, which prevents them from ending up in dumping grounds or the ocean. Two, after the life cycle of our umbrellas is done, we recycle the metallic fabric and use the fabric in new products such as bags and masks—which are distributed to nonprofit organizations that help communities in need.”

Rentbrellas have been improved upon since the São Paulo launch, Marcos says.

The latest ones were developed specifically for New York’s climate and are rain- and sun- resistant. They use state-of-the-art hydrophobic material, feature ultraviolet (UV) protection capabilities and are made from fiberglass, which provides extra shielding from strong winds, according to the company.

Advertising in the Rain

So how does Rentbrella make money if its umbrellas are potentially free?

“Our revenue model is based on brand advertising and sponsorship on our umbrellas,” Marcos says. “In Brazil, our umbrellas are sponsored by the country’s biggest insurance company, Unimed.”

Marcos says 98% of Manhattan users return the umbrella within 24 hours (with no charge), while 1% keep using it for one or two more days (at $2 per day) and 1% choose to keep it and pay the full amount ($16). The percentages are similar in Brazil, a big rainy city known as the “land of the drizzle.”

The idea for Rentbrella was born as cofounder Janovich was getting off the subway, Marcos says.

“There were hundreds of people huddled at the door because it was raining, and as he saw a shared bike passing by, he thought: ‘If no one needs a bike of their own to get around, why need an umbrella?’

“At that moment, he called me, and I suggested using the umbrellas as a new advertising vehicle that brings mobility and protection for users and a high impact media experience for brands.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *