easier, cheaper, and more environmentally friendly.
easier, cheaper, and more environmentally friendly.
CHANGING THE WAY THE WORLD USES UMBRELLAS
Umbrellas have been used in much the same way for thousands of years. Egyptian hieroglyphics show servants holding umbrellas over the heads of deities and kings, and ancient China had collapsible versions dating to the 6th century BC. Still a staple of life in the world’s largest cities, a disturbing trend has emerged with umbrellas. They have become disposable. Broken umbrellas are one of the most conspicuous pieces of litter seen in New York City. According to our friends at Gingko Umbrellas, other cities have the same problem. Every year the world throws away enough umbrellas to build 25 Eiffel Towers. That is a staggering amount of waste! ‘brellaBox thinks it’s about time we stop this wasteful cycle. We don't think paying $5 to get wet and hurt the environment makes much sense.
- Rent a high quality umbrella when you need it at an affordable price
- Environmentally friendly
- Useful in environments ranging from cities and college campuses, to hotels to office buildings
AS SEEN ON
‘brellaBox was co-founded by long time New York city residents, John O’Connor and Anusha Kambhampaty. John and Anusha observed hectic rainy days as one of the common problems faced by New Yorkers. They began by conducting market research to determine whether other NYC residents felt the same way about the rain, and learned they weren't alone. New York City was frustrated with the umbrella status quo. 'brellaBox was born out of brainstorming sessions aimed at solving NYC's umbrella problem, but has since spread to become a company aimed at changing the way the world uses umbrellas. Inquiries from the world over have taught us that New York is not the only city with an umbrella problem.
YELLOW TAXIS, GREEN UMBRELLAS
Our theme for NYC is "yellow taxis, green umbrellas." The plan is to rollout hundreds of 'brellaBoxes, filled with green umbrellas, to participating businesses across the city. Participating businesses will receive a 'brellaBox, umbrellas, and a sticker to place in their window which signifies their participation in the program. As our user base grows, we hope our distinctive green umbrellas will change the aesthetic of NYC on rainy days, making New York known for both yellow taxis and green umbrellas.
We remain committed to making this a reality in New York. However, we envision 'brellaBox spreading to other markets as well. We've discovered that the demand for umbrella sharing extends well beyond the island of Manhattan. Groups from cities such as Milan, Paris, Chicago, Singapore, Dublin, Vancouver, and more have contacted us about bringing 'brellaBox to their neck of the woods. In fact, a few of these groups are featured in our Kickstarter video. College students from universities across the country, and world, have contacted us hoping for an umbrella sharing system on campus. We've found that office buildings, particularly innovation-driven co-working spaces, and hotels, all want to provide umbrella sharing as an amenity to their employees and guests.
HOW 'BRELLABOX WORKS
‘brellaBoxes can be placed in cities, office building lobbies, college campuses, hotels, and more. Our "smart umbrellas" are tagged and tracked using RFID technology, and users are charged a small fee to rent a high quality umbrella.
Both boxes and umbrellas can be branded for a sponsor. Customers use a credit card (or student or emplyee ID) to rent an umbrella. Umbrellas can be returned to any ‘brellaBox within the same ecosystem. Umbrellas are tracked and synced with our software using RFID technology. Email reminders tell customers when their umbrella is due back. Our software allows for custom usage and pricing rules.
ECO-SYSTEM: RENT AND RETURN TO ANY BOX
- Great for college campuses and cities
- Branded for customer or third-party sponsor
- Rent and return umbrellas to any box within the same eco-system
CUSTOM 'BRELLABOX: RENT AND RETURN TO THE SAME BOX
- Well suited to hotel and office environments
- Branded for customer
- Custom usage and pricing rules
THE FIRST 'BRELLABOX
The first 'brellaBox prototype was manufactured in a facility on Long Island, New York.
WEWORK PILOT LAUNCH
We ran a pilot program at WeWork Charging Bull last year to prove our concept. Although the machine had some expected glitches, the program was a success. We enjoyed heavy usage during summer storms and high return rates. The 'brellaBox was very popular with WeWork members .
After strength-testing more than 40 different umbrella brands and models, from all over the world, we've landed on the Totes TRX Titan umbrella as our umbrella of choice. It's the umbrella we use for personal use, and it has stood up well to the rigors of rental. In our WeWork pilot, the umbrella was able to withstand multiple uses and shield users from heavy rain and wind with its 47 inch canopy made of scotch guard fabric rather than polyester. It also has an auto-open close button, so you never have to wrangle an umbrella again!
- totes Auto Open Close TITAN Umbrella
- TITAN Technology - Withstands winds up to 70 MPH
- SunGuard UPF 50+ Sun Protection
- Scotchguard Water Resistance
- Auto Open/Close
- Umbrella Reflective Tape Includes Matching Carabiner Case
- Folded Length: 12 inches
- Folded Width: 2 inches Canopy
- Arc: 47 inches
- Weight: 14.5 ounces
We’ve been hard at work ironing out the kinks from our prototype. We have designed a second generation machine (Patent Pending) that is more compact and seamless in the way umbrellas are dispensed and have identified a US-based manufacturer to carry out our vision. We hope to design a Smart Phone App to be used in conjunction with the next generation machine for more wide spread use of ‘brellaBox as a service. We have also identified a US-based App developer.
40 inches high, 16 inches wide, 14 inches deep. Each machine will be designed to hold 48 folding umbrellas. The current version of our machines are meant to be used inside, and plug into the wall.
The 'brellaBox Smartphone App will help urbanites (or college students) spot their nearest 'brellaBox to rent or return an umbrella. For an urban ecosystem, the 'brellaBox participating business' hours of operation will be displayed so individuals can locate a 'brellaBox that is open for foot traffic. The App will also send push notifications to remind users when their umbrella is due back. Over time, we hope to bring on board enough 'brellaBox participating businesses within an ecosystem so you don't have to walk very far to locate a 'brellaBox!
Thank you to all our early Kickstarter supporters. With the funds, we plan to build out our next generation machine and deploy ‘brellaBoxes to our initial pre-sale customers. We also plan to develop an app that would allow users from around the world to use ‘brellaBox through our city-based ecosystem program. Thank you for helping us disrupt umbrellas!
Our friends at Beecher's Fault, an up and coming band based in NYC, have agreed to play a private concert to a small group of our backers. The Beecher's Fault song Matchstick Kings has exceeded 500,000 plays on Spotify. There may also be a cameo appearance by Miss 360, seen in our video rocking the hoola hoops in Union Square.
ATECH AND COLLABORATIVE ECONOMY CONFERENCE
- Known for its beautiful beaches and plentiful sunshine, the island of Aruba is also emerging as a home for tech startups. The 2015 A Tech Conference will highlight some of the industries best startups in an environment that can't be beaten.
- Whether your organization is a start-up or a large enterprise, The Collaborative Economy Conference will provide you with relevant case examples, interactive workshops and engaging sessions to facilitate new possibilities in partnerships that can enhance existing business and brand initiatives or create entirely new ones.
Risks and challenges
In cities like New York, Milan, Dublin and others, one of the biggest challenges we face is securing locations to house our machines. Our market research is clear: 'brellaBox must achieve ubiquity in order to be useful as an eco-system. Our machines have to be available everywhere. In NYC, we offer a revenue sharing program for participating businesses, but in order to achieve a presence across the city, we will have to secure opt ins from participating businesses in sufficient numbers. In cities like Milan, government approval will need to be secured to place 'brellaBox in the subway stations.
As a hardware company, we are subject to inevitable glitches and technical difficulties. In effect, 'brellaBox is a reverse vending machine and it's important it not only dispenses umbrellas, but is able to accept returns as well. To this end, it's important to experiment with multiple design and prototyping options to ensure the machine is as reliable as possible. We plan to use your generous contributions to develop as close to a fail-proof machine as possible, but acknowledge this is no small undertaking.
We will start small by rolling out 'brellaBox on college campuses and business locations that have placed early pre-sale orders, but vow to try to reach every city that has so passionately expressed their desire for umbrella sharing.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)