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Shift Technologies

Used car marketplace Shift is promoting Toby Russell to president, just one week after rival Beepi shut down, the company tells Axios. Russell joined the company in 2015 from Capital One, and has spent much of his time focused on customer financing. So why does Russell think Shift will succeed where Beepi failed?

  • Macro: More than 75% of car shopping begins online, according to Russell, so Shift and its competitors are aligned with a significant trend.
  • Supply: It recently partnered with Hertz to sell the rental car chain's cars in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and soon in more cities, which would otherwise be auctioned off. According to Russell, this provides Shift with a significant supply of cars, and at a much lower seller acquisition cost.
  • Competitive advantage: Unlike Beepi, Shift lets buyers test drive a car before they purchase it. Beepi instead offered a return window if the buyer wasn't happy, but Russell argues that it's the wrong approach. Cars are big purchases and buyers usually check out more than one car before making a final decisions. What's more, a test drive also removes the complications of reversing a car loan or returning the money if the buyer changes their mind.

With that said, it's clear that even Shift is still learning some lessons the hard way—last month, TechCrunch reported the company shut down its D.C. operations and laid off 10% of its staff, or 25 employees. According to Shift, it did so in order to refocus on its Hertz partnership which doesn't require the same kind of staff. And it still has several competitors left in the market, including Vroom, Carvana, and Carlypso.

Go deeper

Schumer's m(aj)ority checklist

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Capitalizing on the Georgia runoffs, achieving a 50-50 Senate and launching an impeachment trial are weighty to-dos for getting Joe Biden's administration up and running on Day One.

What to watch: A blend of ceremonies, hearings and legal timelines will come into play on Tuesday and Wednesday so Chuck Schumer can actually claim the Senate majority and propel the new president's agenda.

The dark new reality in Congress

National Guard troops keep watch at security fencing. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

This is how bad things are for elected officials and others working in a post-insurrection Congress:

  • Rep. Norma Torres (D-Calif.) said she had a panic attack while grocery shopping back home.
  • Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said police may also have to be at his constituent meetings.
  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) told a podcaster he brought a gun to his office on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 because he anticipated trouble with the proceedings that day.
Off the Rails

Episode 3: Descent into madness ... Trump: "Sometimes you need a little crazy"

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 3: The conspiracy goes too far. Trump's outside lawyers plot to seize voting machines and spin theories about communists, spies and computer software.

President Trump was sitting in the Oval Office one day in late November when a call came in from lawyer Sidney Powell. "Ugh, Sidney," he told the staff in the room before he picked up. "She's getting a little crazy, isn't she? She's really gotta tone it down. No one believes this stuff. It's just too much."

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