Bodegas in New York City don't need to be 'disrupted'
00:39, Sep 14, 2017
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From the name of the store to the cat-emblazoned logos (bodegas are well known for housing cats), everything about this company is intentionally taken from what immigrants have built.
However, many bodegas are mom-and-pop operations, and Rajan and McDonald are taking harsh flak over their move to out-convenience the convenience stores.
Despite our best intentions and our admiration for traditional bodegas, we clearly hit a nerve this morning, we apologize. It's much easier to pitch "We're going to bring the shining disruptive light of technology to the backward and analog corner store".
Silicon Valley seems to be obsessed with "disrupting" services that already exist-and, for decades, have worked just fine-in New York City, whether it's laundromats or dollar vans or even dog-walkers. The boxes are connected to an app: it lets customers unlock the box and a camera follows what they've taken, appropriately charging their credit cards. They're cultural institutions, Garcia said, and he promised that he will work to ensure that the Bodega boxes do not come into NY.
"The vision here is much bigger than the box itself", Bodega co-founder Paul McDonald told Fast Company. "We did surveys in the Latin American community to understand if they felt the name was a misappropriation of that term or had negative connotations, and 97 percent said 'no.' It's a simple name and I think it works". "To me, it is offensive for people who are not Hispanic to use the name "bodega, ' to make a quick buck", Garcia said". We commit to reviewing the feedback and understanding the reactions from today.
The tech industry has been pilloried for forcing gentrification in major cities like San Francisco. Created to be set up like vending machines in apartments, dorms, business locations, and gyms, the concept could ultimately eliminate local Bodegas, at least that's the goal.
Others criticized the startup for downplaying the actual charm - and true utility of bodegas. "It's disrespecting all the mom-and-pop bodega owners that started these businesses in the '60s and '70s".
"It's blatant. they want the convenience of the bodega without having to interact with the people whose neighborhood they invaded", tweeted another person.
With funding from notable investors including Josh Kopelman at First Round Capital, Kirsten Green at Forerunner Ventures, and Hunter Walk at Homebrew, McDonald and Rajan have been testing the concept at 30 Bay Area locations for the past 10 months. According to a story by TechCrunch, the total amount raised was $2.5 million.
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