If you’re a frequent traveler, you’re aware of the problem: coins and small bills left over from your last trip that are useless in your home country, and end up gathering dust in a drawer or glass jar.
Israel-based TravelersBox has just raised $4.5 million to help travelers convert their coins into money or credit before they get on the plane.
The company’s technology consists of automatic kiosks currently installed in airports in Turkey, Great Britain, Italy and Georgia. These boxes allow you to deposit local coins and bills, submit your email and get online cash in return, or alternatively, gift cards from companies such as Starbucks, Skype, Google Play, and the Gap.
Deposits worth less than $2 will buy you credit or a gift card, while larger deposits will actually be converted into cash on PayPal. You can also choose to donate the cash to charity.
There is no fee for the service. The company earns money from commissions from its partners.
In addition to the locations where the kiosks currently stand, TravelersBox will install several hundred boxes in the Philippines and Brazil this year. The company is also in negotiations with airports in Europe, South America, East Asia and Israel.
So far, over 300,000 travelers have interacted with the kiosks. The great majority of deposits are sent to PayPal, followed by iTunes and Skype. Americans, Germans and Russians are the heaviest users of the kiosks.
However, not all the kiosks accept all currencies. The kiosks in Turkey accept the Turkish Lira, USD, EURO and Russian Ruble. But don’t try depositing Turkish Lira in England, because they only accept British pounds and euros.
The company was founded by Tomer Zussman, Idan Deshe, and Dror Blumenthal, who developed the idea over two years and bootstrapped the company until they created a prototype, which includes hardware and software. The current funding round was raised from Global Blue, Yuval Tal, Zohar Gilon, Hagai Tal, and Ehud Levy, alongside Pitango Venture Capital and iAngels.
The company says it will use the funding to expand to more airports.
Simona Weinglass contributed reporting.
Featured Image Credit: TravelersBox