Last year, the New York City Economic Development Council gave a local business school student a $17,500 grant to fund what was basically the best idea ever: Miniature vending machines, sized to fit snugly in the backseat of a taxi, ready to dispense items that New Yorkers on the go really need.
Well, we know how hard it is to get new technology up and running in a New York City taxi cab.
But fear not. Brian Shimmerlik, the NYU MBA candidate behind the idea, figured taxis weren’t the only market for his miniature vending machines, and went on to raise $1 million in seed funding to expand the concept. The result: Vengo, a touchscreen, credit card only vending machine that debuted yesterday at an East Village bar. According to the New York Post, the first machine is vending gum, mouthwash, Old Spice cologne. Coming soon: condoms.
“The purpose is to update the vending machine of the ’80s,” Mr. Shimmerlik told the Post. “They’ve become extinct.”
Meanwhile, the Long Island City-based company is looking to place 10,000 machines throughout the city, in such varied locales as office buildings (cell phone chargers, anyone), doctor’s offices and eventually—taxi cabs.
According to TechCrunch, it’s a question of engineering a machine that operates dependably in a moving vehicle, at which point, some combination of energy drinks, headache medication and condoms, would sell pretty well, we think.