Vengo From 'Shark Tank' Is Available Now To Take Vending Machines Into The 21st Century
Just because something is computerized doesn't necessarily mean it has improved upon the original. However, I don't believe that's the case with this product appearing on Friday night's new episode of Shark Tank. So what is it about Vengo that has me thinking it'll actually make our lives easier, you ask? Read on, and you'll soon be wondering where Vengo from Shark Tank is available just so you can try it out for yourself.
Lucky for Vengo, Friday night's episode of Shark Tank is going to be packed with the show's "techier" Sharks: Mark Cuban, Robert Herjavec, and Kevin O'Leary. That'll definitely give this product a bit of a life preserver in those rough metaphorical waters.
However, Vengo has the potential to service all different types of customers, so why wouldn't any and every Shark want to get in on a deal with the company? I'm certainly not ruling that possibility out either.
I have to say, I'm genuinely excited to see Vengo in the Tank, not only in terms of whether or not it scores a deal but also just to see it in action. From what I've seen about the product online, it's super cool-looking, and I just want to see more of how it works. But here's what you need to know about Vengo in the meantime.
It's More Than Just A Vending Machine
Vengo takes vending machines to the next level. These slimmer, sleeker, digital kiosks allow you to purchase everything from smartphone chargers to makeup to candy with the touch of the screen and then out it pops from the machine, according to the company's website. The machines only take cashless methods of payment like credit, debit, and NFC (Apple Pay and Android Pay), which sounds like a faster and easier way to pick up a few essentials.
It Improves One Of The Worst Things About Vending Machines
Don't you just hate it when that bag of Cheetos gets stuck in those evil rings of death in a regular vending machine, forcing you to consider trying one of several unfavorable options (stick your hand into the machine, push the machine, walk away hungry)? Well, that won't be a problem with Vengo. These machines have sensors that are able to recognize when you don't receive your purchase, and it automatically refunds your money, according to the company's website. You're just going to have to find something else to complain about.
They're Good For Business In More Ways Than One
Not only do Vengo's machines allow companies to sell their wares in a cool, unique way that requires less overhead, but they can also act as mini-billboards displaying ads if that's your thing, TechCrunch described in April 2014. The fact that Vengo is computerized means that there's lots of data available on how users interact with the machines as well as their purchasing behavior, as you can briefly see described on the company's website. That could be very valuable to companies from both a retail and advertising perspective.
Vengo Is All Over The Place
If you find yourself in North America, South America, Africa, or Australia, you might just run across a Vengo machine. That's right. The machines are now live in those four continents, the company announced on Twitter last month. More specifically, Vengo machines have been located in businesses big and small, such as the Grand Hyatt and Madman Espresso in New York, according to Instagram, and the New York University campus, according to the company's website. As you can see, Vengo is really a product for businesses to purchase, not individual consumers. But no matter who you are, if you think Vengo will suit your needs, you can fill out a form on the company's website to get in touch.
The Founders Have Some Impressive Resumes
Vengo was founded in 2012 by Brian Shimmerlik and Steven Bofill, and they'll both be pitching the product during Friday night's episode of Shark Tank, according to ABC. Abuhena Azad is also one of Vengo's founders, according to TechCrunch, but he won't be on the show. Shimmerlik is the CEO of the company, and he has a background in finance, working for JPMorgan Chase and Emigrant Bank in the past, according to his LinkedIn profile. He also earned his BBA in Finance and Accounting from the University of Michigan before going on to pursue his MBA from the NYU Stern School of Business. Bofill is now the chief of design at Vengo. His background is in design and engineering, having previously worked for such companies as Cox and Company, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, and Northrop Grumman, according to his LinkedIn profile. With this kind of talent behind it, it's no wonder Vengo seems to be doing so well.
Vengo Originally Had A Slightly Different Purpose
Shimmerlik came up with the idea for Vengo when he was at business school and realized that every taxi should have a vending machine, according to NYU's Entrepreneurs Blog. It was back then that Vengo had the adorably appropriate name of TaxiTreats, TechCrunch reported in February 2013. It even won the 2011 to 2012 NYC Next Idea competition for the NYC Connect Track, according to the New York City Economic Development Corporation's website.
Unfortunately, TaxiTreats actually found that making vending machines that would be "safe and reliable" in a "vehicle that's bouncing around the way cabs do" was trickier than originally thought, TechCrunch reported. So the company put that on hold, changed its name, and turned to the stationary vending machines it has built a brand around today. Shimmerlik later told TechCrunch that he's still keeping the taxi dream alive though.
Maybe if Vengo gets an investment on Shark Tank, that'll finally become a reality.
Images: Beth Dubber/ABC (3); Giphy