AUBG alumni and student-founded startup Vendy+ brings easy private access to sanitary products and hopes to revolutionize sexual health education in Bulgaria. Part of the AUBG Accelerator program, this summer the startup won first place at the Bulgaria Innovation Hackathon 2021. Read our interview with one of the founders, Dimitrina Pashova, to learn more about what they do and why it matters.
Vendy+ was initially a social project. The key driver was the need for an easy and 24/7 way to buy sanitary products such as condoms, women`s pads and most importantly feeling unburdened by the person behind the counter. During the Elevate program, this social need obtained its business form and functionality. The main purpose of Vendy+ is to facilitate the process of purchasing sanitary products!
The vending machine works 24/7 but most importantly there is no person behind the counter unlike the way it is in the local drugstore. Customers have the benefit of buying whatever they need without feeling pressured by people’s looks and opinions. Everyone should have a free choice when it comes to taking care of their health.
The Vendy+ vending machine on the AUBG campus
The Vendy+ vending machine in Sofia
Choosing the products
A significant part of the process was picking the right products. Having this in mind, we decided to ask our future customers what they prefer in terms of brands, types of products, and price range through surveys and in-depth interviews. After the process was completed, we analyzed the results and decided on the product range and suitable prices.
Three of the biggest challenges we encountered were connected to the products we sell, the location of the machine, and the laws in the country. It took us some time to explain the purpose of Vendy+ to Bulgarian society that has not yet realized the importance of proper sexual and health education. Another difficulty was choosing the location of the machine since it is important when having a physical business. Last but not least, the pharmaceutical field in Bulgaria is heavily regulated, so we had to quickly become familiar with the laws in the country.
AUBG showed and taught us 21st-century merit such as responsibility and challenged us to be competent members of society. Probably the most valuable lesson we learned is to always be on the lookout for smarter, faster, and better solutions in all fields.
We are trying to make Vendy+ become a more recognizable brand and we are putting efforts into having more machines. Since Vendy+ has a big social aspect, we talk freely about the importance of sexual and health education throughout our social media channels.