The Coinstar, Inc. story.
Jens Molbak conceived of Coinstar while he was a graduate student at Stanford University. He noticed the jar of coins on his dorm room dresser,
and realized there wasn’t an easy way to use them.
Two years later, Jens founded Coinstar, and two classmates joined him. They got to work and eventually succeeded in creating a machine that could quickly count
change while filtering out the foreign coins, screws, paper clips, and other debris that is often found in piggy banks and coin jars.
By 1992, Jens’ young company was ready to test their new machine in the real world. Coinstar® kiosks were installed in four San Francisco area supermarkets.
Consumers loved the service, which prompted Jens and company to embark on an ambitious expansion plan. As a result, there is now an extensive network of coin counting
kiosks found in grocery stores, drug stores, and other high-traffic locations across the United States and abroad.
Jens stepped down as chairman of the company in 2001, but his entrepreneurial spirit remains strong in the company today. Core strengths that made Coinstar a household
name in self-service coin-counting have led the company to pursue other automated retail solutions.
In 2002, a division of McDonald’s developed the first fully automated Redbox® kiosk. Coinstar executives recognized the alignment with its automated retail strategy and made
an initial investment in Redbox in 2005. The brand experienced significant growth rolling out to grocery channels, convenience stores, drug stores, and mass merchants.
Coinstar completed the acquisition of Redbox in 2009. It has since grown to be one of the top movie rental companies. In 2010, Redbox made Blu-ray Discs® available via the kiosks and one year later video games became available as well. In March of 2012 Redbox surpassed 2 billion total units rented.
The Redbox consumer base continues to grow, and mobile apps make it even more convenient to rent movies and video games on the go.
Coinstar continues to explore and test new automated retail solutions that make consumers’ lives easier. The company has multiple kiosk concepts in the planning
or prototype phases, and others that are in test markets throughout the country.