PLU Sharing Umbrellas

Making rain gear more sustainable and comfortable for the users, by providing free sharing umbrellas.

Nathalie Tuijp
University of Twente
Master Financial Engineering & Management and Master Management of Product Development

Over het initiatief / About the initiative

PLU Sharing Umbrellas

In welke fase zit jouw initiatief? / In what stage is your initiative?

Uitgewerkt conceptfase

Heb je jouw initiatief al gevalideerd? / Did you validate your initiative?

Yes, we have conducted market research and a low-fidelity pilot.

Meer informatie over jouw initiatief / More info about your initiative

We want to build umbrella machines throughout cities, so that when it starts to rain, people always have an umbrella near, and when they are done using it, they can submit it to the same or another machine. This way they are not stuck with a wet umbrella. Furthermore, to adapt this business model to the Dutch mindset, the umbrellas are free of use, because of advertising.

We want to make rain gear more sustainable, as 95% of umbrellas bought, are an impulse buy. We are still investigating our exact impact we make with our solution. There is a deposit on the umbrellas, so we hope to stimulate good behaviour.

Wat is er anders/nieuw aan jouw idee/oplossing t.o.v. bestaande oplossingen? / What is different/new about your idea/solution compared to existing solutions??

In many Asian countries, they make use of rental umbrellas, but then paid per minute, instead of advertising. In Scandinavia, they have the same business model as the latter, but then only for hotels (Dripdrop).

In other countries, such as the USA & Brazil, they employ a similar business model, where the use is mostly financed by advertisers (Rentbrella). However, we differentiate ourselves by deploying storm umbrellas, and gaining a partnership with such a company. We also plan to work closely together with a weather app company, to improve the service for the user. Plus, we believe that we have more knowledge of the Dutch regulations and market.

Furthermore, there are companies which aim to make lightweight umbrellas the user can easily take with them. However, these umbrellas target businessmen and fail to take tourists into account. Our solution targets all groups close to the city, and because of its convenience, we believe much people will choose our solution instead.

Wat zijn jouw volgende stappen om het verder te ontwikkelen? / What are your next steps to develop the initiative?

We are currently in contact with various companies which would like to advertise on our umbrellas, and with the municipalities to see what the possibilities are regarding subsidies and placement in public places. Moreover, we are researching the impact we can make regarding sustainability. Furthermore, we are developing a prototype of the machine at the moment. We are also expanding our network and growing our reach on social media.

Wat heb je nodig om (nog meer) impact te maken met dit initiatief? / What do you need to make (more) impact with this initiative?

We need to get a broader insight in how much pollution rain gear is actually causing right now, for which we need to collect more data.

Furthermore, we need partnerships with other companies to reduce the environmental footprint, in logistics for example. When the umbrellas need to be redistributed, this could for example be combined with the redistribution of the rental scooters.

We are also looking into the possibility to grow some extra plants near the machines, since the rain water of the umbrellas is collected at the bottom.

We are also thinking of other functions the umbrella could have, such as a certain trigger that will warn the local authority if someone feels threatened in the streets, which could be useful in very large cities, such as Amsterdam.