Let me know if this scenario sounds familiar to you at all. The skies are clear and sunny when you leave the house in the morning, but you're met with a sky full of foreboding clouds when you leave the office, which eventually gives way to a torrential downpour when you're only halfway through your walk home. If only you knew if 'brellaBox from Shark Tank is available so you could avoid this sad, wet fate.
An umbrella is just one of those things that you don't realize you need until it's way too late. That's the problem 'brellaBox is trying to solve in a very 21st century way. Not only could it change the way we procure and use umbrellas in the future, but it could also have an impact on how we buy things in general, if it's successful.
That success could depend on how 'brellaBox performs during Friday night's new episode of Shark Tank. The company will be looking to score an investment from the Sharks, but I really don't know how it's going to fare in the Tank. On the one hand, I think the idea for 'brellaBox solves a problem, which is what all good products do. However, I don't know if there's a way to make some major money off of this thing, which is what the Sharks really care about at the end of the day.
We'll have to wait and see what the Sharks think of 'brellaBox when Friday night's new episode rolls around. Until then, get to know a bit about 'brellaBox below, and gather your thoughts about the product in time for the episode.
No Umbrella? No Problem!
If you find yourself stuck in the rain without an umbrella, 'brellaBox is here to save the day. The company's sleek, green machines allow you to rent an umbrella for a small fee for however long you need it and then return it to a nearby machine when you're done, according to a press release announcing the launch of the company's Kickstarter campaign in May 2015. It's a similar idea to those bike-sharing programs in cities around the world, such as New York's CitiBike. Who really wants to own an umbrella, anyway?
It's Supposedly Better Than Those Other Guys
If you live in a place where you actually find yourself doing a substantial amount of walking outside, even in the rain, i.e. a city, then you might also already have some vendors available to you for a last-minute umbrella, i.e. the pharmacy or someone selling them on the sidewalk. The company told The Wall Street Journal in 2014 that the "quality" of the umbrellas is what separates it from those already-established competitors, and that's not hard for me to believe to be true.
It's Not Only A Win For People Holding The Umbrellas
In addition to solving a problem for consumers, 'brellaBox can also help the cities, colleges, and businesses that house these machines earn revenue and be a branding opportunity with the possibility of a custom logo or message appearing on the umbrellas, according to the company's website. It sounds like 'brellaBox could make it rain, too.
It May Be Coming To A Street Corner Near You
If you're digging this idea as much as I am, I've got some good and bad news. The bad news is that 'brellaBox isn't so widely available yet. But the good news is it's getting there. The company is "currently accepting orders for Spring 2016" and has "been in talks with businesses ranging from the Fortune 500 to national hotel chains," according to its website. 'BrellaBox has already partnered with Penn State University and Michigan State University College of Law and anticipates "numerous installations at college campuses in Spring 2016," the company's website said. Hopefully, 'brellaBox scored a Shark so it can eventually help keep the whole world dry.
The Founders Come From Diverse Backgrounds
No, the great minds behind 'brellaBox aren't umbrella connoisseurs, according to the page for the company's Kickstarter campaign, although wouldn't that make for a delightful line in a Twitter bio? John O'Connor is a former lawyer who started his own digital marketing consulting firm called JSO Digital before co-founding 'brellaBox. His co-founder Anusha Kambhampaty is a former journalist who works as the associate director of business development for the biopharmaceutical company Retrophin, according to her LinkedIn page. But now they seem pretty driven to take the umbrella world by storm.
There May Be An App For That
The company said a smartphone app was in the works when it launched its Kickstarter campaign in May 2015. Since the project was not successfully funded, it's hard to say what the status of 'brellaBox's app is these days, but if this thing does get big, it sure would be cool to be able to locate a 'brellaBox machine right from your phone.
But of course, 'brellaBox probably needs to properly launch before it gets to that next level.
Images: Michael Desmond/ABC; Giphy (4)