Project image
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$3,282
pledged of $100,000pledged of $100,000 goal
39
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Wed, June 10 2015 4:52 PM UTC +00:00
Last updated June 10, 2015

NYC

easier, cheaper, and more environmentally friendly.

NYC

easier, cheaper, and more environmentally friendly.

$3,282
pledged of $100,000pledged of $100,000 goal
39
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Wed, June 10 2015 4:52 PM UTC +00:00
Last updated June 10, 2015

About

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

OUR STORY

‘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. 

OTHER MARKETS

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 

Prototype in the wild at WeWork, Charging Bull
Prototype in the wild at WeWork, Charging Bull

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 .

THE UMBRELLA 

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! 

'brellaBox's umbrella of choice: Totes TRX Titan
'brellaBox's umbrella of choice: Totes TRX Titan
  • 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

THE FUTURE

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. 

'brellaBox 2.0 at a glance
'brellaBox 2.0 at a glance

Approximate Dimensions: 

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. 

A peek at the inside
A peek at the inside
Air flow schematic for damp umbrella returns
Air flow schematic for damp umbrella returns

THE APP 

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 

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!

TIMELINE

BEECHER'S FAULT 

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.

THE TEAM 

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.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 1 or more About US$ 1

    Thank you for your support! You will be added to our mailing list and receive updates on our progress. Help spread the word, down with crappy umbrellas!

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    Pledge US$ 5 or more About US$ 5

    Become a part of history! Your name will be added to our website and will be featured as an original supporter of the first umbrella share company in the world.

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    Pledge US$ 10 or more About US$ 10

    Everyone appreciates some social media love. We'll add your name to our website and give you a special shout-out on our Twitter or Facebook page for your generous contribution.

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    Pledge US$ 25 or more About US$ 25

    Yellow taxis, green umbrellas t-shirt - In honor of our quest to turn NYC green on rainy days, you'll receive a "yellow taxis, green umbrellas" t-shirt for your contribution.

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    Pledge US$ 25 or more About US$ 25

    Rock a 'brellaBox t-shirt to show your support for our movement.

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    3 backers
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    Pledge US$ 35 or more About US$ 35

    EARLY BIRD

    We've tested em' all and this is the best umbrella on the market.

    Our early supporters will be thanked with a limited edition 'brellaBox branded Totes Titan TRX folding umbrella that can withstand winds up to 70 MPH. This is the umbrella our team uses on rainy days, and the one we use in our machines. It will tide you over with a great umbrella while we work on bringing 'brellaBox to your city.

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    Limited 6 backers
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 45 or more About US$ 45

    We've tested em' all and this is the best umbrella on the market.

    Receive a limited edition 'brellaBox branded Totes Titan TRX folding umbrella that can withstand winds up to 70 MPH. This is the umbrella our team uses on rainy days, and the one we use in our machines. It will tide you over with a great umbrella while we work on bringing 'brellaBox to your city.

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    10 backers
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    Pledge US$ 125 or more About US$ 125

    PRIVATE CONCERT + ONE YEAR MEMBERSHIP

    For your generous support, you'll be invited to a private concert with the up and coming NYC band Beecher's Fault, and receive a one year free membership for 'brellaBox NYC. The Beecher's Fault song Matchstick Kings has exceeded 500,000 plays on Spotify. Come support umbrella sharing in NYC and a great band. Travel to NYC not provided.

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    Pledge US$ 225 or more About US$ 225

    NYC STARTUPS: A DAY IN THE LIFE

    A day in the life of the NYC startup scene. For your generous contribution, we'll start with lunch at Hudson Clearwater in the West Village. From there, we'll show you around the 'brellaBox offices at WeWork in Soho. We'll then head to the innovative workplace collective, Neuehouse, where we'll give you a demo of our V2 machine and have a glass of wine or two. Travel to NYC not provided.

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    Pledge US$ 675 or more About US$ 675

    CAST DINNER AT THE SPOTTED PIG

    Cast Dinner - Enjoy dinner with the co-founders and cast of our video in the private dining room of the Spotted Pig in the West Village! Travel to NYC not provided.

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    Pledge US$ 2,500 or more About US$ 2,500

    TRIP TO SAN FRANCISCO + COLLABORATIVE ECONOMY CONFERENCE + DINNER AT SLANTED DOOR

    Join us for both days of the Collaborative Economy Conference in San Francisco! For your contribution, you will receive a pass to attend the conference October 21-22 and learn about disrupting traditional commerce through case studies, workshops and sessions. You'll even get to grab dinner and a drink with a 'brellaBox co-founder at the popular SF restaurant the Slanted Door! Travel to San Francisco and two nights hotel provided (restricted to individuals within the continental US).

    http://collaborativeeconomyconference.com/

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    Pledge US$ 3,500 or more About US$ 3,500

    TRIP TO ARUBA + VIP PASSES TO THE ATECH CONFERENCE + DINNER

    We will fly you to Aruba, put you up for two nights at the Radisson Aruba Resort right on the beach, and see you at the ATech conference where you'll have full VIP access, which includes networking events and a dinner. Conference dates: August 28-29, 2015. (restricted to individuals within the continental US).

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Funding period

- (30 days)