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December 3, 2012

Google Buys BufferBox

Google is adding BufferBox to its list of acquisitions.

Google announced Nov. 30 it has acquired the nearly two-year-old Waterloo, Ont. startup for an unnamed amount.

The move will be a short one — both BufferBox and Google already were housed in the Lang Tannery building in the warehouse district, but on different floors. The 10-person BufferBox team — which includes its three founders — will now join Google on the upper floor of the building.

BufferBox offers users a temporary parcel pickup station for packages ordered online. Click here to see how it works.

“We have been able to achieve more than we could have ever imagined since we started working on our idea a couple years ago, and the team couldn’t be more excited about the future,” reads a blog post by co-founders Mike McCauley, Jay Shah and Adityah Bali announcing the acquisition.

“As online shopping becomes a bigger part of how you buy products, we look forward to playing a part in bringing that experience to the next level. We are happy to share that it will be business as usual for our users and we are looking forward to continuing to build out the service.”

The service, which began as a pilot trial at the University of Waterloo before spreading throughout the Greater Toronto Area, will now have the funds to compete with Amazon’s Locker service.

The company currently is offering the service for free in a bid to build up a user base. The company plans to charge $3 or $4 per package delivered to its boxes next year.

According to the Financial Post, BufferBox said in October it had secured a deal with Metrolinx to debut its self-serve parcel pickup kiosks at GO Transit stations, including Toronto’s Union Station. The company is planning to have 100 BufferBoxes installed in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area by the end of next year. The firm is also attempting to finalize agreements with grocery and convenience stores.

Adding BufferBox to its lineup will bolster Google’s growing mobile commerce operations in Waterloo, where the majority of the search engine’s mobile shopping products are built.

Google Waterloo engineering director Steve Woods told the Financial Post Google intends to help BufferBox expand and will keep the BufferBox brand for the “foreseeable future.”

“Our goal is always to find founders with passion and great ideas to have them come in and not to take them apart, but instead to let them run and give them access to some of the services and things that we can do at Google and across some of our other products to make their vision big,” Woods told the publication.