When you hear the word vending machine, what comes to mind? A large contraption that gratefully offers a variety of cookies, candy and chips for those in need of a quick snack? Or maybe an ice cold drinks dispensing vending machine comes to mind? Chances are you don’t envision a smaller and much more compact vending machine that hangs on the wall, which is now quickly finding its way into the mainstream.
Seen as the way of the future, Vengo Labs has created
a new and improved vending machine that mounts on the wall, looking a bit like a flat screen television. Cool, right? The digital display is enticing, and the touch screen is user friendly. The thought behind this smaller machine was to transform how vending machines are used, modernizing a machine that’s looked pretty much the same since it was created back in the 1880’s.
The main focus is, of course, on the size of the machine, as it’s much smaller than the traditional vending machine. One of the reasons is to save floor space, which can cost a pretty penny to rent. Because these compact vending machines are geared towards customers who aren’t in an actual store, it’s important for them to be set up in a place where people are hanging out so they’ll have the time to check out available products, i.e. college dormitories.
What’s also different with this super compact machine
is that the products for sale aren’t what you typically tend to associate with current vending machine offerings. The touch screen allows you to learn more about the products inside, which is basically an advertisement within itself.
Creator Brian Shimmerlik thought of the idea when he was riding home in a New York taxi late one night and wanted something to eat. Since he was already in the mindset of wanting to create something, he thought to himself, ‘hey, why don’t I make a vending machine that’s small enough to be put in a taxi?’. Although a good idea, his first pitch to the taxi people got him this response – ‘Get lost!’ Lucky for him, that didn’t stop him.
On his quest to find another supporter,
he came across an online competition that was looking for New York city’s next big idea. He won. But it didn’t stop there. Needing more money he appeared on Shark Tank in March 2016 hoping for a deal. He got it. Securing another two million dollars in funding after his appearance on Shark Tank, he’s now working on expanding another 1000 of the compact vending machines. Wonder what that taxi company is thinking now?
Currently, the machine isn’t being sold at a profit. What? How in the world can it make money then, you ask? Ongoing fees. Purchasers must pay a $20 fee every month in order to access necessary software that allows the machine to work. It also covers insurance to ease the minds of those wanting to use this modern software-based vending machine to sell their wares. But they make their money by charging additional fees on every product sold using a Vengo vending machine, which is equal to another $200 in monthly fees, again per product.
Brian’s goal? Making the vending machine world a little more fun and a little more convenient. Looks like he’s on the right track so far!