I was just talking about how Square has changed the way we pay for things around here. It wasn’t that long ago where you’d walk up to a food cart or a coffee shop and have to shell out cash. Now, more often than not, they’ve simply got the ability to swipe your card. Now, a Portland startup is looking to offer that same sort of simplicity for vending machines. Meet PayRange.
The company, founded by VendScreen cofounder Paresh Patel, aims to make vending machines even more convenient—by allowing you to pay from your phone.
And it’s already getting a fair amount of attention.
PayRange is a mobile payments company that enables vending machines and other devices to take mobile payments. The company’s product includes a small piece of hardware, which is about the size of a USB drive, to retrofit existing machines and a mobile app used by consumers. The hardware easily plugs into an existing machine and can operate within seconds, Patel said.
Through the app, consumers have a prepaid balance that is used to pay the vending machine. The smartphone and the machine communicate through Bluetooth. When a consumer approaches a vending machine or a payment that is outfitted with PayRange’s hardware, the app can deduct any payments from the user’s account.
The trick will be persuading customers to download the app, and load it with funds – and to install enough PayRange devices so they customers have places to use that app and spend their money. Patel said his company envisions concentrating on specific geographic targets, such as a college campus, and working out from there.
For more on the company, visit PayRange.
[Full disclosure: Paresh is a PIE alum and mentor. I am the cofounder of PIE.]