Vengo Labs Partners With Blackstone Launchpad To Deploy Mini High-Tech Vending Machines On College Campuses

Posted On: 6/2/2016

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TAGS: high-tech vending machine, Vengo Labs, Blackstone Charitable Foundation, Brian Shimmerlik, Blackstone LaunchPad, Stephen Schwarzman, Sen. John Cornyn, Vengo vending machine, Amy Stursberg, Shark Tank, Canteen Vending

NEW YORK CITY -- Vengo Labs announced a partnership with one of Blackstone Charitable Foundation's programs to introduce Vengo's digital, wall-mounted vending machines to some of the largest universities in the United States. The campus-oriented entrepreneurship program, called Blackstone Launchpad, is available to more than 500,000 students, school staff members and alumni globally.

To kick off the partnership, Vengo chief executive Brian Shimmerlik will speak on June 2 at the University of Texas (Dallas) during an event announcing Blackstone LaunchPad's expansion in Texas. Shimmerlik, a Blackstone beneficiary himself, will speak alongside Blackstone chairman, chief executive and founder Stephen Schwarzman and Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX).

Vengo Labs builds digital kiosks that serve both the consumer packaged goods and advertising industries by uniting the convenience of online shopping (as vending has always done) with multimedia content related to products in the machine. By late summer, Blackstone LaunchPad locations are expected to have their Vengo machines installed for the 2016-17 school year. They include New York University, Syracuse University, University of Texas, University of Southern California and University of Central Florida.

"It's been wonderful to see the rapid growth of Vengo Labs, a Blackstone LaunchPad venture, and we're excited to leverage our global network to accelerate its growth, while providing additional value to our other student entrepreneurs," said BCF executive director Amy Stursberg.

Under terms of the agreement, Blackstone LaunchPad will use Vengo as a distribution vehicle for products made by other student ventures in the Blackstone network. Custom-wrapped Blackstone LaunchPad-branded Vengo will feature news and highlights from the across the network. Through Vengo's units, the Blackstone LaunchPad team and any companies with featured products will be able to receive real-time feedback on sales data, location-specific insights, as well as onscreen engagement with interactive advertising content. Through this feedback, Blackstone LaunchPad's student organizations can test product messaging and assortment.

"I love giving back to Blackstone LaunchPad, the entrepreneurship program that helped us grow," Shimmerlik said. "With the real-time analytics we can monitor customers' gestures and purchase behaviors, sharing learning points with other Blackstone LaunchPad members to help them know what's working for their products' sales efforts."

Vengo Labs recently negotiated a $2 million deal on ABC's "Shark Tank" with investors Kevin O'Leary and Lori Greiner, who are also cast members. Prior to the March 18 episode, Shimmerlik and Steven Bofill, who are Vengo's cofounders, raised $5 million during the company's seed and Series A funding rounds.

Shimmerlik expects an estimated 1,000 Vengo machines to be installed in 15 major U.S. cities by year's end. Vengos are also being placed overseas. Additionally, Canteen, the nation's largest vending operation, is placing Vengos at its college and university locations. | SEE STORY