Zoom Systems, the San Francisco-based provider of luxury-good vending machines, just brought in $20 million in fifth-round funding to increase its market presence in the U.S. and Japan. You may have already spotted its machines (termed “automated retail stores”) in airports and shopping malls. By and large, they sell major electronics from companies like Apple and Sony, and other swanky tech goods like Rosetta Stone language-learning software.
The concept started as a vehicle for marketing Motorola products in 2006 — only 20 machines were supposed to be placed throughout the U.S. Today, more than 800 machines have been installed, bringing in about $40,000 per square foot of space they occupy per year in airports alone. While Zoom doesn’t actually make the machines itself (it outsources manufacturing to a partner), it says it takes care of installation, maintenance, security and supply monitoring.
With just 100 employees, the company claims the recent round will fund the rollout of 1,000 more machines in the U.S. and Japan by the end of the year. The money came from existing backers Sierra Ventures, Goldman Sachs Group, NeoCarta Ventures, Motorola Ventures and Starfish Ventures.
For now, it appears to be the only vending machine provider of its kind.