If Given the Chance, People Will Steal Your Umbrella

A new umbrella-sharing startup is failing. Hard.

By Evan Bleier

 
If Given the Chance, People Will Steal Your Umbrella
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10 July 2017

The sun will rise, the Browns will suck and someone’s gonna steal your umbrella. That’s life.

Which is what makes it so unsurprising that a startup that actually thought an umbrella sharing service would end in anything except a whole lot of missing umbrellas ended up taking a bath.

Only weeks after launching across 11 Chinese cities, E Umbrella has reportedly lost almost all of its 300,000 available rental units, according to the South China Morning Post and The Paper.

While the umbrella-sharing startup — which uses an app to collect a $2.90- per-umbrella deposit and an extra $0.07 per half-hour — made it clear customers could collect their rentals outside train and bus stations, they apparently didn’t clarify how the units should be returned so most renters decided just to keep them. 

"Umbrellas are different from bicycles," company founder Zhao Shuping told the SCMP. "Bikes can be parked anywhere, but with an umbrella you need railings or a fence to hang it on."

Refusing to admit defeat, Zhao wants to make another bet on the prevailing goodness of humanity and plans to release another 30 million umbrellas by the end of the year.

The forecast isn't good.

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