PORTLAND, OR -- VendScreen said it has raised $12 million from investors to fund the launch of its multifunction touchscreen user interface for new and existing vending machines.
The vending technology startup was one of eight companies to demonstrate their innovations to investors as part of the Portland Incubator Experiment, a business accelerator program led by worldwide advertising giant Wieden & Kennedy.
VendScreen’s Android-based 4.3" touchscreen displays user-specific promotions and advertising, real-time product updates, cashless payment options and refunds, and nutrition information. It is designed to replace several single-purpose devices, eliminating the need for separate card readers or DEX upload devices. | SEE STORY
VendScreen chief executive and cofounder Paresh Patel presented a compelling outline for VendScreen’s capabilities and business model. Operators purchase the device for close to cost and pay the company 2.75% of machine sales for its service, he explained during his presentation. He informed potential investors that vending machine sales typically increase by 20% when machines are equipped to support cashless payments.
See Patel’s presentation on YouTube.
Patel said he was initially hoping to raise $400,000 from investors, but found many wanted to invest $500,000 rather than the $50,000 he had anticipated. The VendScreen chief said the company will use its $12 million Series A round of funding to build a sales and distribution team.
The three-month Portland Incubator Experiment connects participating startups with mentors from major consumer brands affiliated with Wieden & Kennedy. VendScreen’s mentors introduced its cofounders to public relations and social media professionals, as well as an electrical engineer, who Patel said were instrumental in developing its launch strategy and refining the engineering of touchscreen interface.
Patel also operates Courtesy Vending, the largest independent vending company in Portland, OR. Glenn Butler is VendScreen's chief technology officer. VendScreen now contracts an additional 40 employees.