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Photo: Cargo

Cargo, a New York-based startup that sells snack boxes and other amenities to ride-hail passengers, has laid off around two dozen employees and will pivot to car-top advertising, the company confirms to Axios.

Why it matters: A growing number of startups are under pressure to build sustainable businesses instead of focusing on unprofitable, top-line growth.

Background: Cargo, founded in 2016, debuted with items that Uber and Lyft drivers can put in their cars and sell to passengers.

  • It inked a partnership with Uber in 2018.
  • Drivers have earned $13 million by selling 12 million products to 35 million passengers across 14 cities and three countries, Cargo CEO Jeff Cripe tells Axios.

A few months ago, Cargo began testing car-top ad displays in Atlanta with Uber, putting it in direct competition with startups like Google-backed Firefly.

  • Cargo is expanding the service next week to Dallas and Phoenix.
  • Drivers, Cargo, and Uber each get a cut from the advertising revenue.
  • As part of the shift to focus solely on this business, Cripe says that Cargo has laid off "fewer than 30" full-time employees.

Cargo has raised about $40 million in venture capital funding, from such investors as Founders Fund, Coatue Management, and a group of former Uber executives.

Go deeper

Supreme Court rejects second GOP effort to cut absentee ballot deadline in N.C.

Photo: Robert Alexander/Getty Images

The Supreme Court, for the second time in two days, rejected a GOP request to shorten the deadline mail-in ballots must be received by North Carolina officials to be counted.

The state of play: The state's deadline had been extended from 3 days to 9 days post-Election Day.

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The coronavirus pandemic is worsening, both in the U.S. and abroad, with cases, hospitalizations and deaths all rising.

Axios Re:Cap digs into the state of global vaccine development — including why the U.S. and China seem to going at it alone — with medicinal chemist and biotech blogger Derek Lowe.

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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  2. Politics: Top HHS spokesperson pitched coronavirus ad campaign as "helping the president" — Space Force's No. 2 general tests positive for coronavirus.
  3. World: Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases — Europe faces "stronger and deadlier" wave.
  4. Sports: Boston Marathon delayed MLB to investigate Dodgers player who joined celebration after positive COVID test.

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