Innovation That Matters

The race begins for vending machines in US cabs


It appears that vending machines for cabs may be the next frontier for the market, with both TaxiTreats and New Orleans Carriage Cab developing ways for passengers to buy products on the move.

Vending machines appear to be a platform ripe for new innovation, and Springwise has seen numerous twists on the concept – from beer and wifi dispensers to machines that work only for adults. Now it appears that the next frontier of this market may be vending machines for cabs, with both TaxiTreats and New Orleans Carriage Cab developing ways for passengers to buy products on the move. The NY Post reports that New York University MBA candidate Brian Shimmerlik has developed the Vengo, a small machine that holds products that will appeal to those out on the town – such as chewing gum, drinks, perfume and perhaps condoms. The first version, which includes a touchscreen user interface and credit card payment machine, was trialled last month in a New York nightclub and Shimmerlik hopes that they could be used not only in taxis, but also in offices and entertainment venues. Having won a USD 17,500 New York City Economic Development Council grant to develop his idea, he has also since raised USD 1 million in private funding to bring the concept to life. Reports also suggest that the New Orleans Carriage Cab is the first service of its kind to offer soft drinks to its customers, using a similar tablet payment system. Around 40 of the company’s fleet currently have refrigerators installed in the trunk of the vehicle, with cans dispensed behind the back seat. Each machine holds around 36 drinks and the firm are collecting the empty cans for recycling. The concept could provide a head start against competing companies, although the size of the machine may mean that passengers – particularly those traveling to the airport – are not able to use the trunk space for their own luggage. With continued development, it may be the case that these mobile vending machines come to be standard in taxi cabs, offering passengers goods and refreshments while they travel and boosting revenue for operators. Investors – one to get in on early? Spotted by: Lily Dixon



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