NEW YORK CITY -- A new company called TaxiTreats is preparing to install vending machines in New York City, but not yet in taxicabs. The startup, which won a $17,500 grant last year after taking part in the NYC Economic Development Corp.'s Next Idea competition, said it has just raised $1 million in venture capital.
TaxiTreats plans to begin installing the Vengo machines this summer in bars and taverns, with the first machine slated for the Village Pourhouse in Manhattan's East Village.
"The first Vengo machine at the Village Pourhouse contains gum, pain relievers, hand sanitizer and hand lotion," said TaxiTreats cofounder and chief executive Brian Shimmerlik. "The city has been very helpful with TaxiTreats and Vengo, so we are excited to finally launch Vengo and see our vision come to life."
Venture capitalists include David Tisch and The Richport Group, which is chaired by singer Marc Anthony. The compact Vengo machine features a touchscreen panel and debit/credit card reader. Products for sale will include everything from snacks and drinks to condoms and sundries.
Shimmerlik said company continues to explore its original concept of vending machines inside taxicabs in a number of cities. The New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission has not yet approved the machines, but Shimmerlik told VT his company anticipates no difficulty in getting the green light. If widely deployed in NYC cabs, the machines could become a new revenue source for taxi fleet owners, generating taxable income for the city.