BufferBox begins winding down standalone services

BufferBox announced this week they will be “winding down” their standalone mail kiosk service. The company, started by UW students three years ago, was purchased by Google in late 2012 while it was based in the VeloCity Garage.  The news of BufferBox’s shutting down comes from Google.

As of March 31, packages will no longer be accepted at any of BufferBox’s warehouses and April 21 is the last day for customers to retrieve packages from any of the 46 kiosks.

According to a press release, BufferBox will now be, “bringing the learnings, technologies, and expertise of the team to future Google shopping products.”

BufferBox was a free service that had quickly grown in popularity. It was originally conceived as a fourth-year design project by Mike McCauly, Aditya Bali, and Jay Shah — all grads of the mechatronics engineering program.

“I’m extremely confident that this isn’t the last we’re going to see of the founders of BufferBox,” said Mike Kirkup, the director of VeloCity. Kirkup added that the founders have been very active in the startup community since being purchased by Google.

“The opportunity for them to partner with Google and use their resources and their expertise to be able to continue to build their infrastructure, their product and everything else is one of the reasons that they would have chosen to go there,” said Kirkup, who does not see this as a loss for BufferBox or its founders.

“It’s important to evaluate the areas where we focus our efforts,” the company says on the FAQ page.  BufferBox directed all media questions to Google, who did not respond to interview requests.

“The Google acquisition of BufferBox over a year ago was seen as a success and I think still today it’s a success,” said Kirkup.

Despite the dissolving of the BufferBox service only a year into the ownership by Google, Kirkup doesn’t want other startups to shy away from bigger companies.

“It really comes down to the specific opportunities and challenges that are in front of you and the path that you want to go on,” said Kirkup. “It’s a very personal decision.”

BufferBox currently has kiosks in southern Ontario and the San Francisco area.

“It was extremely important to them that they were able to remain here in KW to give back to the community and be part of the special building of this ecosystem,” said Kirkup.

The future of the BufferBox service, its founders, and its employees is unclear. According to their website, there are no formal plans to restart the BufferBox service.

“We still remain extremely happy and excited to have been part of their journey and to have helped in whatever way we can and they continue to give back,” said Kirkup, adding that some of the company founders will be participating in VeloCity’s pitch night event this term. BufferBox’s founders have also actively participated in VeloCity’s mentoring program.

“This isn’t the last we’re going to see from BufferBox.” 


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