People who shop at the same Bay Area corner stores that Bodega wants to eliminate, like me, aren't worried about any problem the startup wants to solve. We're fretting about paying rent, affording health insurance, and the extreme gap between Bay Area's rich and poor created by local tech companies that's making the homeless problem a third world nightmare in our streets. In contrast to his brush off about the issue of co-opting "bodega" to Fast Company, McDonald wrote: Regarding the headlines echoing McDonald's quote about Bodega's aim to eliminate the necessity of stores he wrote, "Challenging the urban corner store is not and has never been our goal." Paul McDonald served as a product manager at Google for 13 years.
A tech startup called Bodega that hopes to replace mom-and-pop shops with unmanned boxes that rely on an app and artificial intelligence is facing a massive backlash from immigrant business owners and skeptics across Silicon Valley. "The vision here is much bigger than the box itself," co-founder Paul McDonald, a former Google product manager, told Fast Company. McDonald told Fast Company he was unveiling 50 new locations on the west coast and plans to spread across the country, with more than a thousand "Bodegas" in place by the end of 2018. Even if Bodega rapidly grows, many shoppers won't want to abandon their local stores, said Trisha Chakrabarti, senior program and policy manager at Mandela MarketPlace, a nonprofit that supports local grocery stores and is based in Oakland, California, where Bodega is headquartered.