Cornell students who find themselves digging through their backpacks for headphones or asking strangers to borrow chargers now have a new place to turn with the installation of a dozen vending machines around campus that dispense headphones, chargers and other items.
The collaboration between start-up Vengo Labs and The Cornell Store to install 12 vending machines around campus — including in Appel Commons, Clara Dickson Hall and Robert Purcell Community Center — means students can purchase items between classes instead of trudging to The Cornell Store in Ho Plaza.
“Ithaca is super super cold and I didn’t have a car for most of the time I was on campus,” Aaron Coven ’16, business development associate at Vengo, told The Sun. “If you’re in a remote place, are you really going to walk outside and walk up the hill … to go get a product?”
Vengo was founded in 2011 and appeared on Shark Tank in 2016 (taped in 2015), kicking off millions of dollars of investments in the company. College campuses, hotels and gyms are the ideal locations for the vending machines, Coven said.
The vending machines will also be in some laundry rooms around Cornell, offering dryer sheets and detergent pods, while others will offer pain relieving medicine like Advil.
“In-store traffic is getting crushed,” Coven said, emphasizing the importance of putting products where people are to “merge the digital world with the physical world.”
Vengo machines are at several other schools, including New York University, Quinnipiac University, University of Pennsylvania and all of the City University of New York schools.
The Cornell Store partnership, in addition to adding a recognizable logo to the machines, means the campus shop can run promotions through the digital Vengo screens.
Coven said he hopes the machines will be helpful students and make them smile — even if that requires putting a meme or two on the screen.