Ridesharing

Startup Cargo Raises $1.75M To Turn Uber, Lyft Cars Into Small Mobile Shops

Startup Cargo has raised $1.75 million in seed funding to place mobile shops in Uber and Lyft drivers’ vehicles.

According to Tech Crunch, the money was raised from Techstars, Detroit Venture Partners, Fontinalis Partners and Rosecliff Ventures.

Cargo gives Uber and Lyft drivers the chance to make even more extra money by selling snacks and other small products to customers making use of the ridesharing services. It is currently operating in New York, Chicago and Boston, but has received driver requests from 49 U.S. states.

Sign up is free, and Cargo sends drivers a custom display that rests on the center console and offers a selection of snacks and essentials. On the top of the display case are a URL and identification number that is unique to each car.

Passengers go to the URL, enter the vehicle code, browse the menu and check out using a credit card or a mobile payment option like Apple Pay. The driver gets a notification on his or her phone that the transaction is complete, and can pass the items back to the passenger.

Cargo tracks sales and automatically sends a replenishment of inventory when supply is running low. Drivers get paid $.50 cents for each item they distribute, and the top 30 percent of drivers sell about 500 items a month. The majority make at least $100 a month on average by selling items from Cargo.

The company pays per item instead of a percentage of sales because some of the items distributed are free for riders. Since Cargo is working with brands interested in finding a way to distribute new items and samples, some of the snacks available for passengers may be free, but Cargo and drivers still get paid by the brand.

And because riders still order those free items through the mobile menu, Cargo knows the demographics surrounding that transaction — like time of day and location where the item was requested — which they can then share with the brand.

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