So about a year ago, I think, I get a call out of the blue from this guy named Jay Shah. I have no idea how he found me. But he would like to tell me about this business start-up he and some friends at Waterloo have got going and get a bit of feedback. The concept he describes is for a conveniently-located, transient, secure package delivery station. It’s called “BufferBox,” he says.
My response, to the best of my recollection, was that (a) the idea sounded very interesting; (b) the underlying concept and technology for managing the logistics of reusable depositories (think a bus-station locker with a lock that is managed through numeric codes sent to users by email) was probably more valuable than the delivery station concept; (c) think bigger and smaller–what would a box that could hold a letter or an engagement ring-size box, or a locker that could hold a standard container (trailer on an 18-wheeler) do; (d) align with somebody whose interests correspond but don’t overlap; (e) think about NFC and the mobile phone as the enabling device; and (f) good luck with it and remember me just before you go public.
Well, I’m sure the advice went in one ear and out the other. Or did it? I just read in both of Canada’s national newspapers that BufferBox was acquired for an undisclosed sum by Google. Apparently Google’s interest is in how this fascinating piece of an end-to-end value chain fits with its mobile ambitions. (Hmmm….)
I don’t have any actual or optional, gratuitously provided founders shares–not one!–but I do have a warm feeling for these three guys and what/where they’re going. Good for you. My bet is that Google is going to help you push outward mostly in the ways that Jay and I talked about a year ago. Maybe they’ll be a little more focused on alignment of interests and they’ll also overlook the last item.
Congratulations. My bet is that this is just the beginning of an interesting run for this little business (and Google) in ways that putting a package into the hands of a university student can’t begin to contemplate.