A New Umbrella Startup Will Make Sure You Never Get Caught in an NYC Rainstorm Again

You can now rent free umbrellas at over 35 locations in Manhattan.

Umbrellas in New York City
Manu Padilla/Shutterstock

In New York City, it feels like you never have an umbrella when you need one. Next thing you know, you're walking into a meeting soaking wet or shelling out way too much for an umbrella that won't last until the end of the day. A new startup is looking to solve NYC's weather woes with free umbrella rental stations around 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 check out the heavy-duty umbrellas for free as long as they're returned within the first 24 hours. After that, you will be charged $2 on the second and third days followed by a $15 charge if you fail to return the umbrella or want to keep it.

The company, which already operates in Brazil, says that 98% of umbrella rentals there remain free. Rentbrella is aiming to provide a convenient service for users as well as reduce the waste created by the cheap, throwaway umbrellas that are ubiquitous at Manhattan news stands 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 at the offices of companies like Wework, Braun Management, Moinian Group, Tishman Speyer, Beacon Capital, and Chetrit Group. However, the company is aiming to expand to more than 200 locations across New York City this year alone. You can even request to have a station installed near you.

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 feel raindrops at an inconvenient time, all you have to do is take out your phone.

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