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oregonlive.com Published on Aug. 13, 2014

PayRange’s new investors include Google, PayPal alumni — and Oscar winner Jared Leto

Portland startup PayRange confirmed $2.75 million in new investment Tuesday from a series of high-profile backers with connections to Google and PayPal – and from actor Jared Leto, who’s begun dabbling in startups.

PayRange’s hardware enables vending machines to sell their potato chips, sodas, candy bars and other wares via smartphone instead of with coins and bills. It installs a small Bluetooth wireless device in a vending machine; consumers connect with a smartphone app, which they fund in advance.

The 10-person company says it has tested its device in 20 states and plans to start a national rollout.

PayRange founder and chief executive Paresh Patel left his last startup, Portland-based VendScreen, after a dispute with his investors. Patel said he put more thought into choosing PayRange’s backers.

“When I went to raise fund s this time I was being a little more strategic in going about it,” he said.

The Oregonian reported last month that PayRange’s latest funding round included participation from former Google vice president Osama Bedier, who led that company’s Google Wallet initiative, who had joined the company’s board.