Tech Crunch: Byte Foods raises $5.5 million for smart vending machines that serve local fare

Apple juniper kombucha or a BBQ chopped salad may soon replace the can of soda and bag of chips in a vending machine at your office.

A San Rafael-based startup called Byte Foods has raised $5.5 million in seed funding to popularize its smart vending machines and delivery service stocking them with nutritious food and drinks from local vendors.

If the idea of the internet-connected vending machine sounds a bit familiar, it has been around for more than a decade, actually. But according to market research by Berg Insight, only 1.5 million of the world’s 17 million vending machines are actually internet-connected today.