Fasten, a ride-hailing startup, is shutting down its operations in Boston and Austin as part of its sale to Dutch automotive company Vezet Group, according to a customer email.

Why it matters: During a brief retreat from Austin by both Uber and Lyft last year, Fasten was among the local ride-hailing services that helped fill the gap, especially during the annual South by Southwest (SXSW) festival (with mixed results). Ironically, Fasten will cease its operations on Monday, just days before the conference returns to Austin.

The entire customer email:

Dear riders,

With heavy hearts, we are writing to let you know that as of 12amon Monday, March 5th, we will be shutting down all operations in Austin and Boston. Fasten has agreed to be acquired by Vezet Group, one of the top ten ride-hailing companies across the globe. While they will be using our brand and our technology to grow their business in other parts of the world, they will be freezing our operations in the U.S.
For us, it’s always been about more than just getting you from point A to point B.

We created this business to bring change to the ride-hailing industry. We wanted to help drivers earn more of the fare, and we wanted to give you a better choice. We believe we’ve made real progress with the 5 million rides we’ve completed together.

As we say goodbye, we ask that you make a conscious choice when it comes to ride-hailing. We know why you chose Fasten, and our hope is that you’ll continue to think about the drivers who are doing this to make ends meet and of how rideshare companies treat their people.

Fasten’s mission and model will live on in other markets around the globe, and we’re so proud of the product that we’ve built. Thank you so much for your tremendous support over the last three years. It’s been a great ride.

With gratitude,
Kirill Evdakov, Vlad Christoff, and Roman Levitskiy,
Co-founders, Fasten

Go deeper

SurveyMonkey poll: Trump improves, but not enough

Trump and Biden during the final debate. Photo: Xinhua/Liu Jie via Getty Images

President Trump's final debate performance exceeded Americans' expectations, but it wasn't enough to shift the dynamics that left him trailing Joe Biden across most measures, according to a new Axios-SurveyMonkey poll.

What they're saying: "Liar" was the word used most by debate watchers to describe Trump's performance, followed by "lies," "strong," "presidential" and "childish." "Presidential" was the word used most to describe Biden's performance, followed by "liar," "weak," "expected" and "honest."

Hunter Biden saga dominates online debate

Data: NewsWhip; Table: Axios Visuals

The mainstream media turned away. But online, President Trump's charges about Hunter Biden were by far the dominant storyline about the final presidential debate, according to exclusive NewsWhip data provided to Axios.

  • Coverage of business dealings by Joe Biden's son — and pre-debate allegations by one of his former business associates, Tony Bobulinski — garnered more than twice as much online activity (likes, comments, shares) as the runner-up.