Pencil News, 8/01/17
Shenzhen-based Piaoliusan Technology, operator of mobile umbrella-sharing platform Mobrella, completed RMB 5 mln in angel funding led by Dream Catcher Fund with participation from Thunderstorm Capital, Yicheng Capital, and umbrella maker Youyi Feinuo Umbrella Company.
The company said that Youyi Feinuo has already produced 100,000 Piaoliusan umbrellas, which will serve as the first batch available on the market.
Users can scan the QR code found in an applet on Tencent's (0700.HK) WeChat mobile messaging app to submit a deposit and rent an umbrella. The deposit is RMB 15, which allows the user 24-hours of free umbrella use, and users are then charged RMB 0.5 per day. When returning the umbrella, users can view a map that displays nearby return points.
Mobrella's umbrellas are sky blue in color and cost RMB 7 to manufacture. The words "Piaoliusan" are printed on the outside of the umbrella, while the inside carries advertising slogans from mobile O2O pharmacy delivery app Dingdang Medicine Express.
Founder Gu Man established Piaoliusan in May this year, and completed development of the WeChat applet in June. The company then formed an agreement with Dingdang Medicine Express, whereby Dingdang would pay RMB 10 per umbrella for its advertisements.
Mobrella's first round of umbrellas went into circulation on July 5 for a week-long trial run, with 40 return points located near subway stations and business areas in Shenzhen. In the first week, 4,200 people used the service with a daily umbrella return rate of more than 70%. Piaoliusan has also established cooperation agreements with small businesses such as flower shops and coffees shops which serve as primary rental and return points for large-scale umbrella circulation.
Currently, Mobrella's revenue relies on umbrella rental and advertising fees. The service covers 1,500 umbrella pick-up/return points, 800 of which are centered around subway stations. The company has put more than 50,000 umbrellas into circulation with a total user base of nearly 70,000.
Mobrella's pre-Series A round of funding is almost complete, and the company is preparing to seek Series A funding.