Dripdrop makes it rain with innovative umbrella rental kiosks

Dripdrop Hero


Dripdrop is a Denmark-based ISV/VAR specializing in the unattended space with an innovative business model: they operate automated umbrella rental kiosks in busy public places such as hotel lobbies, train stations and shopping centers.

Dripdrop’s mission is to create a product that lasts longer, gets more use and has a smaller footprint. Their umbrellas are made from recycled plastic and are of the highest durability standard in order to last as long as possible.

When the company originally started in 2015 it was advertiser-driven, the umbrellas were free to borrow, and no technology powered the borrowing. As business grew, they wanted to move away from reliance on advertisers to scale more efficiently and bring their sustainable model to larger cities.

They were also facing a big issue with “long-term borrowers”
(i.e., people not returning the umbrellas). In Aarhus, Denmark alone the company was losing an average of 14,000 umbrellas per year.


The challenge

To better scale the business and reduce losses, Dripdrop began developing a sharing platform. Originally they powered it via an app, which required downloading then entering payment details to access an umbrella. But customers found the process too laborious when they quickly needed to rent an umbrella. Dripdrop also ran into issues integrating payments directly with hotels for renting via keycards because some hotels didn’t use a tab system.

To provide the best customer experience, Dripdrop wanted to create a new automated rental solution using “tap and grab” functionality. That way customers could tap a payment card on the kiosk to free an umbrella. The whole process would take a few seconds, and having the card attached to the rental would help ensure that the umbrellas would be returned — which customers could do at any Dripdrop kiosk.

Dripdrop needed a payment distributor that could support their vision, and signed on with a gateway processor in 2019. After working with them for nine months, they still hadn’t gone live due to numerous issues.

How NMI helped

Dripdrop turned to NMI for help in early 2020, and the new solution was operational in just three months. NMI, in partnership with Payter and Dripdrop, developed a bespoke Windows integration using their ChipDNA Direct API, Payter P60 terminals and a unique use of card tokens. The solution was completely new — due to the complex requirements from Dripdrop, nothing off the shelf would work.

The integration had to account for multiple use cases in order to provide a great experience. In standard usage, a customer would pay a rental fee when taking an umbrella, and would be charged an additional fee if they didn’t return it in 24 hours. But sometimes customers would get a free rental for 24 hours, in which case Dripdrop didn’t want to send an authorization charge to their card. Even though the fee would be voided upon return of the umbrella, it could be confusing for customers and potentially drive customer service calls to help lines or to partner hotels.

NMI solved this unique challenge by implementing a pre-authorization that stores a token and checks if the card is valid, but doesn’t authorize any amount on first use. If the umbrella is not returned, the token from the original tap is used to send a Card Not Present ecommerce transaction to authorize the card.

"NMI and Payter were both younger and more
progressive teams which aligned with our own ethos. We felt these companies could help us achieve what we
wanted to do since our solution isn’t a typical vending
solution and this gives us a type of competitive advantage
so we needed to make sure we got the payments solution
just right."
"NMI’s expertise in unattended payment solutions
enabled us to ensure a fast and efficient launch which
was very well received by our customers. We can finally
trust that our payments are in safe hands, leaving us to
focus on other sides of the business."

The results

While the pandemic has meant fewer people out and about and in need of umbrellas, Dripdrop has managed to add new partnerships to get their rental kiosks in more locations.

At the beginning of 2021 they launched their biggest site yet, at all major entry/exit points in the Brussels Midi Train station in Belgium, in collaboration with national train operator SNCB.

They’re also working on launching with one of the UK’s leading hotel brands at 30 locations throughout the country. For this partnership, Dripdrop will donate half of all rental fees collected to support Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity in London.

The company has also partnered with leading nonprofit Eden Reforestation Project to donate money for the planting and nurturing of a tree every time an umbrella is rented.

"NMI was the perfect partner to support us due to their
pan-European coverage, ease of integration and unified
tokenization. Working with them has allowed us to expand
throughout Europe with a next-generation solution that
protects us against any misuse of the service."

Future plans

Dripdrop is in discussions with a long list of leading hotel brands and other transport operators and train stations around Europe to bring their kiosks to more places.

The company sees ample opportunity in being part of the growing conversation and problem-solving of micro-mobility and building more pedestrian-friendly, car-free city centers.

As sure as it will rain in Denmark, Dripdrop knows that their innovative rental kiosks, powered by NMI payment expertise, are practical and smart enough to continue growing their business well into the future.

About NMI

NMI is a leading global full commerce enablement platform, processing more than $195 billion in payments annually. We enable payments for over 3,300 partners and over 267,000 merchants around the world and across the entire commerce ecosystem: online, in-app, mobile, in-store, unattended and whatever’s next. We’re constantly innovating in order to power the next era of payments, building in the latest technology so ISVs, ISOs, Banks and Fintech Innovators can focus on what they do best. NMI has offices in the US and UK and serves global customers.