Uber vending machine maker Cargo adds Venmo for in-car commerce

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Cargo, a provider of in-car commerce systems to the ride-sharing market, is now accepting Venmo as a payment option to complete in-car transactions.

The partnership with Venmo integrates the P2P payment option alongside debit and credit cards. Cargo, a New York-based startup, sells snacks, drinks and smartphone accessories from its mini in-car vending machines called Cargo boxes.

"Venmo is the most widely used payment platform among our customers, evidenced by Venmo's fare-splitting partnership with Uber, and we are excited to bring the same frictionless payment to riders transacting with Cargo," said Jeff Cripe, founder and CEO of Cargo.

Inside the vending machines are a combination of free samples that are provided by sponsoring consumer packaged goods companies and items for sale. Each time riders grab something from the box, whether it’s a free sample or a for sale item, the driver gets paid a commission. Forbes reported that drivers get 20 percent of the item’s cost plus a $1 transaction fee, even for samples.

Uber began issuing Cargo boxes in July to its drivers in San Francisco and Los Angeles through its Greenlight Hubs, where Uber drivers come in for onboarding and in-person help. Uber has positioned the partnership as a way to help it support their drivers in generating extra income and enhance the rider experience.

Uber stated that it would be expanding the service to other cities served by Cargo, including New York, Boston, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and Dallas.

Uber has been under heavy competitive pressure as direct rivals such as Lyft, legacy taxi companies, and even bike and scooter rental firms are seeking to meet consumers’ mobility needs. In May, Lyft claimed that it had captured 35 percent of the ride-sharing market, up from 20 percent 18 months earlier. In an effort to broaden its appeal to millennials and Gen Z consumers, Uber added Venmo as a payment option in July. In April, Uber purchased the New York-based electric-bike startup Jump Bikes for an undisclosed amount. Jump Bikes currently operates in 40 U.S. cities.

According to Crunchbase, a website that tracks investments in private fintech companies, Cargo has raised $29.4 million in new investments over three funding rounds since 2016. The Founders Fund, a San Francisco-based technology venture capital firm led the latest fund raising round, a Series A, which raised $22.5 million in September.

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P-to-P payments Gig economy