Rentbrella offers free umbrella rentals in New York

In New York, it feels like you never have an umbrella when you need one. The next thing you know is you’re walking into a meeting soaked or spending way too much on an umbrella that won’t last until the end of the day. A new startup is looking to solve New York’s weather problems with free umbrella rental stations across the city.

Rentbrella, a mobility and technology company based in Brazil, recently installed three dozen umbrella rental kiosks in high-traffic areas of Manhattan. Users can view sturdy umbrellas for free as long as they are returned within the first 24 hours. After that, you’ll be charged a $2 fee on the second and third day, followed by a $15 fee if you don’t return the umbrella or want to keep it.

The company, which already operates in Brazil, says 98% of umbrella rentals there remain free. Rentbrella aims to provide convenient service to users as well as reduce the waste created by cheap disposable umbrellas that are ubiquitous in Manhattan’s newsstands and convenience stores.

To access the umbrellas, users can download an app that will direct them to the nearest station. Rentbrella currently has more than 35 kiosks in Manhattan, including the offices of companies such as Wework, Braun Management, Moinian Group, Tishman Speyer, Beacon Capital and Chetrit Group. However, the company aims to expand to more than 200 New York locations this year alone. You can even ask to have a terminal installed near your home.

Rentbrella’s ultimate vision is a network of umbrella rental kiosks in office and residential buildings, universities, hospitals, businesses and subway stations. So the next time you smell raindrops at an inopportune moment, all you have to do is pull out your phone.

Chris Mench is the New York News Editor at Thrillist. You can follow him on Twitter for more of his work.

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