(Yicai Global) Sept. 1 -- Citybox, a China-based smart vending machine operator, secured USD15 million in A-round financing from GGV Capital, Yunqi Partners, Blue Lake Capital and the Zhen Fund.
Citybox's vending machines look like a typical domestic refrigerator. Users can open the door by scanning a QR code, and payment is automatically processed after the door is closed. Billing information is then pushed to customers' smartphones, Jiemian News reported. Goods for sale are mostly fresh produce.
The machines have anti-theft and user-tracking facilities.
"We've held commercial tests ever since the first machine was rolled out in January and had positive results," said Citybox's marketing manager. "As of August, we'd signed contracts with about 2,000 outlets across the country, and expect that 50,000 vending machines will be in service by the middle of next year."
The startup has partnered with Alibaba's personal credit rating service, Sesame Credit. Citybox users are advised to use the vending machines properly to enhance their credit record; otherwise they will be unable to open the machines and will face penalties.
The firm has also teamed up with Shanghai City Supermarket Co., better known as City Shop, and Shanghai Fruitday Co. to ensure reliable food supply and safety in first-tier cities. Wang Qiang, Citybox's founder, is a former chairman of City Shop and co-founded Fruitday.
Citybox has set up operations teams in most major Chinese cities, including Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Chengdu, Wuhan, Qingdao, Nanjing, Suzhou and Ningbo.