Urban Umbrella Raises $6.5M in Venture Debt Funding
Capital will fuel expansion of production capacity, growth of secondary markets and deepening of penetration in New York
NEW YORK, January 14, 2022–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Urban Umbrella, New York City’s premier scaffolding design alternative, today announced that it has raised $6.5 million in venture capital debt. The round was led by New York-based Anthos Properties, a commercial and residential real estate developer and property management company.
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Urban Umbrella’s sidewalk shed can and has been used as an event or retail awning. (Photo: BusinessWire)
Paul Anagnostopoulos, director and director of acquisitions of Anthos, as well as Billy Gilbane of Gilbane Building Company have joined the advisory board of Urban Umbrella. More than a dozen former investors, mostly New York-based property owners and developers, also participated in the round.
With the completion of this funding round, Urban Umbrella has raised a total of $26 million in debt and equity. As of December 2021, the company’s scaffolding was installed at 100 sites across New York City.
The new capital injection will allow Urban Umbrella to continue accelerating manufacturing of its flagship product – a white, braced-free sidewalk shelter comprised of high-strength steel, translucent plastic panels, LED lighting and arched struts. which combine the strength of a road bridge and the beauty of a work of art.
“Closing this all-debt funding round is an important milestone for us,” said Benjamin Krall, Founder and CEO of Urban Umbrella. “This is a testament to the maturation of our brand and evolution as a business. Not only are we providing a unique and in-demand product, but we can be counted on to continue on our rapid growth trajectory and reach the level of profitability necessary to satisfy the conditions of this type of financing.
Demand for Urban Umbrella’s products as an alternative to unsightly traditional scaffolding shows no signs of abating. Collectively, New York City building owners spend approximately $500 million annually to install or maintain scaffolding, making New York City the world’s largest market for scaffolding products. At any one time, 10,000 sidewalk shelters are in place across the city to protect pedestrians from masonry and other debris that may fall from buildings in need of repair.
Urban Umbrella reached profitability in October 2021.
Urban Umbrella clients include some of New York’s largest developers, building owners and general contractors including Savanna Fund, Sciame Construction, Gilbane Building Company, The Feil Organization, GFP Real Estate, Lendlease Group, Saks Fifth Avenue, RXR, The Palace Hotel, The Peninsula Hotel, The Plaza Hotel, RFR and Hines.
“Urban Umbrella provides a premium product that Savanna has deployed on many of our construction and development projects across New York City,” said Krista Jones, project manager at Savanna. “Their team provides an excellent user experience, combined with a unique, high-end design that really enhances our appearance when work is going on in a building.”
The pandemic has shifted the balance of power, prompting landlords to roll out the red carpet for surviving retail and restaurant tenants. Urban Umbrella is between three and five times more expensive than traditional scaffolding, but the company continues to gain traction, despite its higher price.
Urban Umbrella also plans to use the new funds to make key hires in early 2022, to continue expanding the company’s product lines and to grow its geographic footprint in markets like Boston, Connecticut and Chicago.
The company is the only one in the scaffolding industry to offer free maintenance, seven days a week, 24 hours a day.
Illustrating landowners’ preference for Urban Umbrella over traditional scaffolding, a significant driver of demand for the company’s products in 2021 was “trade-ins,” which is when Urban Umbrella is hired to install its scaffolding to replace the old traditional scaffolding.
The Palace Hotel: The property hired Urban Umbrella to replace the traditional scaffolding that surrounded this historic structure on Madison Avenue, and to complete the existing work by installing Urban Umbrella scaffolding in the hotel’s main courtyard. Preserving the aesthetic appeal of the courtyard was important to the hotel owners as it is a popular location for weddings, film and photo shoots, and as an amenity for hotel guests.
Saks Fifth Avenue: The property hired Urban Umbrella to replace the traditional scaffolding installed at the department store’s iconic Fifth Avenue entrance. The location is known for its extravagant holiday light show on the facade and the owners of the building did not want to risk traditional green scaffolding detracting from the enjoyment of this beloved annual attraction.
Urban Umbrella will use some of its new capital to develop its new modular structure division, Canopies. Urban Umbrella’s sidewalk shed can and has been used as an event or retail awning, each of which combines various elements from the company’s aforementioned kit of parts. Current and past customers, including Uber, Chanel, Apple, Bank of America, Northwell Health, IMG, New York Fashion Week, and several restaurants and schools, have benefited from the non-traditional uses of the Urban Umbrella product.
The Canopies product allows customers to add heaters, fans, speakers, pedestrian tracking/counting, hand sanitizer dispensers, custom signage, branding, color and lighting, as well as stairs/terraces for the socialization of pedestrians.
In September 2021, Spring Studios engaged Urban Umbrella to install their event canopy to provide shelter, shade, and branding for their client, international modeling agency IMG, during a nine-day event. from New York Fashion Week. Another notable client for Urban Umbrella’s event canopy is Bank of America’s Bryant Park Winter Village ice rink.
Chanel and Apple have put Urban Umbrella’s retail awning to good use. The retail awning has become a tool for stores to not only control occupancy for COVID-related reasons, but also for anti-theft and customer service purposes. With staffing continuing to be an issue, retailers are also limiting store occupancy for this reason. The retail canopy product, a queue management tool, allows customers to comfortably queue outside until it is their turn to enter, while protecting them from the elements.
“We’ve been seduced by Urban Umbrella’s product over the years,” said Anagnostopoulos of Anthos. “Now, as investors and members of the company’s advisory board, we look forward to seeing the company build on its success as it continues to break into the New York City market and create new beachheads in other North American cities.”
About the Urban Umbrella
Urban Umbrella is the designer, patent holder and manufacturer of the only alternative scaffold bridge on the market that is approved by the New York Department of Building. This unique product has been the premier design substitute for traditional scaffolding in over 60 years. In an international design competition with more than 260 applicants, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Department of Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri proclaimed Urban Umbrella the new example of scaffolding for NYC. The Urban Umbrella design was chosen to help improve quality of life, reduce construction impacts on businesses, increase pedestrian safety and increase the space available for pedestrians on sidewalks. Additional information about Urban Umbrella is available at https://www.urbanumbrella.com/
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