Jan 17, 2020

Scoop: Cargo pivots to car-top advertising, does layoffs

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.

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What she's saying: "This is like Charlottesville all over again. He speaks and he makes it worse. There are times when you should just be quiet. And I wish that he would just be quiet."

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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

For many black Americans, this moment feels like a crisis within a crisis within a crisis.

The big picture: It's not just George Floyd's killing by police. Or the deaths of EMT Breonna Taylor and jogger Ahmaud Arbery. Or the demeaning of birdwatcher Christian Cooper and journalist Omar Jimenez. Or the coronavirus pandemic's disproportionate harm to African Americans. It's that it's all happening at once.

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Amnesty International: U.S. police must end militarized response to protests

Washington State Police use tear gas to disperse a crowd in Seattle during a demonstration protesting the death of George Floyd. Photo: Jason Redmond/AFP via Getty Images

Amnesty International issued a statement on Sunday morning calling for an end to militarized policing in several U.S. cities and the use of "excessive force" against demonstrators protesting police brutality.

Why it matters: The human rights group said police across the country were "failing their obligations under international law to respect and facilitate the right to peaceful protest, exacerbating a tense situation and endangering the lives of protesters."