A new startup called Bodega, launched Tuesday by Google veterans Paul McDonald and Ashwath Rajan, plans to install unmanned vending-machine-like pantry boxes in offices, apartments, dorms and gyms across the country, offering purchasable items that you might find at an actual, free-standing bodega.
This new box may be convenient for some, but it also threatens to push out mom-and-pop stores, many of which are owned and run by immigrants—a fact which Twitter is dragging, with “Bodega” trending nationally.
It doesn’t help appearances that the startup’s logo is a cat, a nod to the pets often seen pacing around brick-and-mortar bodegas.
Bodega secured funding from big shots at First Round Capital, Forerunner Ventures, Homebrew, as well as investment from executives at Facebook, Google, Twitter and Dropbox.
It launched 50 locations on the West Coast today, with plans to have more than a thousand by 2018.