Parachut eliminates the friction by sending a steady stream of equipment to your door using a model similar to Spotifyor Netflix. Wife-and-husband founders Melissa and Philip Niu hope to go beyond the online rental shop to create something like an iPod Shuffle for camera geeks. For $149 a month, you get a serendipitous assortment of shooters on loan. “Yes, we are technically leasing our equipment,” says Melissa Niu. “However, rental companies are primarily for people who know exactly what they want, what they need it for, and when they need it.”
Melissa says Parachut is about “gear exploration.” In-house camera geeks curate cameras, lenses, lights, and accessories based on preferences specified in your profile. It’s basic stuff: are you a beginner, hobbyist or pro; do you favor digital or film; what kinds of photos you take. You can add specific gear to your wish list, but you don’t have much say in when you get something. “You would be surprised how high the percentage is of people just wanting to be surprised,” Melissa says.