The phrase vending machine connotes a big clunky box of metal from the past. Steven Bofill, a former aerospace engineer (Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Sikorsky), is trying to change that perception with his Vengo Labs, a company that makes sleek modern vending machines that are only six inches deep and mount on a wall. It’s designed with a 21.5” touchscreen display (which is also used for displaying ads), a cloud-based inventory monitoring system, and it takes debit and credit cards. There’s no need to unfold your dollar bills or get change — Vengo doesn’t accept hard currency.
Bofill raised millions of dollars and started installing Vengos in New York City hotels (Grand Hyatt), campuses (NYU) and gyms. Clients include Hershey — they’re selling Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Ice Breakers mints in the hallways of offices. “It’s exceeded all of our expectations,” said Bethany Bauer, Hershey’s senior manager of pay point experience. “We believe unplanned purchases can happen anywhere there’s really a pay point.” Bofill is looking for more investors on Shark Tank to expand the business even further. The problem is where to find the Vengo machines. The website doesn’t list locations so a customer really has to let the product find him/her. The sharks might be of some help there. Shark Tank airs Fridays at 9pm on ABC.