Utah Valley

March 12, 2014

New Vending Machine Technology Created in Provo

By Rachel Madison

Provo – A new kind of vending machine technology aims to help customers make easier, healthier choices and vending machine owners more knowledgeable about their equipment.

The new technology and company, called AIRVEND, is an android-based point-of-sale device with a software as a service (SaaS) back end, says Lance Ellsworth, co-founder and executive vice president of business development for AirVend.

“It’s a point-of-sale device that mounts on a vending machine,” he says. The device offers three core things: It displays the nutritional information of each product inside the machine to comply with federal law and inform consumers, gives people the ability to pay with their phone or credit card, and provides vending machine owners with information about real-time sales and inventory data through the device’s interactive touchscreen.

“That way the operator knows if their product has been depleted and what needs to be restocked,” he says. “It’s those three key things, but we also plan to sell ads so companies can do advertising from it.”

The idea for the company started when AirVend CEO Chad Francis, who also owns Provo-based custom development company IO DEVELOPMENT, was doing some work for a client in the vending industry through IO Development. The company asked Francis and his team if they’d build a point-of-sale system for their vending machines, and the idea behind AirVend was born.

“We evaluated the market to see if we should go into the industry and deliver this solution,” Ellsworth says. “We had to ask, ‘Can we compete against other companies?’ The answer came back as yes with a huge opportunity, so in April 2012, we started the company and in November 2012 we were shipping product.”

Ellsworth says so far the company has only shipped about 1,000 units across the United States, but interest continues to build. Recently, AirVend received $1.2 million in funding to fuel its production. The funding was led by 365 Retail Markets, a vending industry partner, and PS27 Ventures, an investment firm focused on healthy living and wellness initiatives.

“In all aspects there are going to be enhancements,” Ellsworth says. “We are going to expand our software, team, sales and do what we can to help operators know if their product is deficient—if they are missing Cokes or Snickers bars—and do real-time updates.”

Springville – The Utah Department of Transportation awarded W.W. CLYDE & CO. the I-15 South Davis Operational Improvements Project. The $83 million design-build job is planned to include building additional lanes, replacing aging bridges and rebuilding portions of surface streets.

Provo-Orem – A report from the Milken Institute ranked PROVO-OREM as No. 2 on its list of “Top 25 Best-Performing Large Cities” based on data from long- and short-term growth in jobs, wages, salaries and technology output. Provo-Orem moved up five spots from last year’s ranking.

Orem – RC WILLEY announced it will open a new store at the UNIVERSITY MALL. Targeted to open in the fourth quarter of this year, RC Willey will become an anchor tenant of the mall by remodeling and expanding the space that formerly housed Nordstrom.

Provo – VIVINT SOLAR, INC. acquired Solmetric Corporation in an all-cash transaction. Solmetric develops photovoltaic installation instruments and software. Its existing sales contracts, distribution partnerships and product availability will continue under the Solmetric brand.

Provo – WADSWORTH DEVELOPMENT GROUP completed redevelopment of a 5,400-square-foot building on University Avenue occupied by MATTRESS FIRM, which opened in December.

Payson – A new locally owned donut shop, THE DONUT HOLE, opened at 1392 Turf Farm Road. The business makes every donut from scratch and sells cocoa, coffee, breakfast sandwiches and other products.

Springville – Publishing company CEDAR FORT INC. finished the 16,555-square-foot expansion of its warehouse. The company produced 140 titles in 2013.

Lindon – Palladin Consumer Retail Partners, LLC acquired KT HEALTH, LLC, a retail provider of kinesiology tape and related sports medicine products.

Provo – PUREZA SALON & MEDI SPA opened at 4801 N. University Ave., Ste. 340. Pureza provides medical and cosmetic procedures performed by an accredited medical staff and licensed aesthetician team.

Lehi – The MUSEUM OF NATURAL CURIOSITY, a new family museum at THANKSGIVING POINT, received the Cultural Project of the Year award from the ASSOCIATED GENERAL CONTRACTORS OF UTAH this month. The award also recognized the museum’s general contractor OKLAND CONSTRUCTION and its architect FFKR ARCHITECTS.



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