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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

2 hours ago - Health

U.S. surpasses 25 million COVID cases

A mass COVID-19 vaccination site at Dodger Stadium on Jan. 22 in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

The U.S has confirmed more than 25 million coronavirus cases, per Johns Hopkins data updated on Sunday.

The big picture: President Biden has said he expects the country's death toll to exceed 500,000 people by next month, as the rate of deaths due to the virus continues to escalate.

GOP implosion: Trump threats, payback

Spotted last week on a work van in Evansville, Ind. Photo: Sam Owens/The Evansville Courier & Press via Reuters

The GOP is getting torn apart by a spreading revolt against party leaders for failing to stand up for former President Trump and punish his critics.

Why it matters: Republican leaders suffered a nightmarish two months in Washington. Outside the nation’s capital, it's even worse.

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
6 hours ago - Economy & Business

The limits of Biden's plan to cancel student debt

Data: New York Fed Consumer Credit Panel/Equifax; Chart: Axios Visuals

There’s a growing consensus among Americans who want President Biden to cancel student debt — but addressing the ballooning debt burden is much more complicated than it seems.

Why it matters: Student debt is stopping millions of Americans from buying homes, buying cars and starting families. And the crisis is rapidly getting worse.

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