Shenzhen-based Yisan Technology, operator of mobile umbrella sharing app E San, completed RMB 10 mln in angel funding on May 13 from Siye Chuangtouhui Investment Management.
Zhao Shuping, founder of Yisan Technology, said that since May 17, E San has deployed 20,000 umbrellas in Shenzhen, and plans to gradually expand to other first-tier cities to deploy umbrellas at a density of one for every 10 city residents. Zhao said that by the end of 2017, the company plans to have more than 30 mln shared umbrellas in first- and second-tier Chinese cities, and that it expects to reach 50 mln umbrellas by this time in 2018.
Zhao said that its average umbrella costs RMB 90 to produce. Before using an umbrella, users must download an app and pay an RMB 19 security deposit, and rental charges are RMB 0.5 per half-hour thereafter. After a user registers they must also set up a pre-paid balance account, with a minimum account balance of RMB 9.
E San's umbrellas include location technology, and a positioning chip and password lock are integrated into the device. The umbrellas feature a small solar panel underneath a QR scan code, which can be used to charge the positioning chip. Users can scan the QR code with their mobile app to obtain a password code that will unlock the umbrella. Charges begin accumulating after the umbrella has been opened for 30 seconds, and charging is suspended when the umbrella is shut.
Zhao also pointed out that each umbrella is able to generate advertising revenues for the company. Each umbrella has approximately 10 places on which advertisements may be placed. The umbrellas feature UV protection, and second-generation umbrellas will also include MP4 playback capabilities.
So far, the E San app has nearly 80,000 registered users in Shenzhen. Zhao estimates that the company will recover its umbrella deployment costs after approximately 30 rainy days, and that each umbrella will have a lifespan of about one year. Yisan Technology was established on April 12, 2017.
Editor's Note: E San customer service told Marbridge in a telephone interview that the platform operator is Yisan Technology, a subsidiary of Siye Zhijia Investment Development. E San confirmed with Marbridge that the angel investor this round, Siye Chuangtouhui, is not a subsidiary of Siye Zhijia, despite Siye Zhijia being listed in China's national company registry as one of several shareholders of Siye Chuangtouhui.