In-car commerce startup Cargo raises $22 million led by Founders Fund | Industry
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Additional investment came from Coatue Management, Aquiline Technology Growth and a number of high-profile entertainment, gaming and technology executives that include Zynga founder Mark Pincus, Twitch’s former CSO Colin Carrier, media investor Vivi Nevo, former NBA commissioner David Stern, Def Jam Records CEO Paul Rosenberg, Steve Aoki, Maria Shriver and Patrick and Christina Schwarzenegger.
To date, Cargo has raised $30 million in venture funding. As part of this latest round, Founders Fund partner Cyan Banister is joining the board.
Cargo provides qualified ridesharing drivers with free boxes filled with the kinds of goods you might find in a convenience store, including snacks and phone chargers. Riders can use Cargo’s mobile web menu on their smartphones (without downloading an app) to buy what they need. Cargo has previously partnered with Kellogg’s, Starbucks and Mars Wrigley Confectionery — companies looking for ways to market their goods to consumers.
“In just a few years, ridesharing has evolved from a niche service to an indispensable element of our global transportation system,” Banister said in a statement. “Founders Fund is excited to support Cargo in driving the next evolution: a better on-trip experience for riders and new revenue generating opportunities for drivers.”
The round follows Cargo’s partnership with Uber and an international licensing deal with Grab. The company, which was founded in 2017, has activated more than 12,000 drivers across 10 cities.
Cargo says it will use the capital to scale its business in the U.S. and internationally. It’s also working on new digital services — a development Banister eludes to — that will improve users on-trip experience. The strategic investments from gaming and entertainment executives is designed to help Cargo develop those digital services for riders.
“Our default behavior in an Uber is to shop, play games and listen to music on our phone. Riders have ordered more than two million products and today transact with us every five seconds,” Cargo founder and CEO Jeff Cripe said in a statement. “We brought riders instant commerce, now we’ll help them discover and enjoy games, music, and entertainment on one in-car platform.”
Existing Cargo investors participating in the round include CRCM Ventures, Rosecliff Ventures, Kellogg’s eighteen94 capital, RiverPark Ventures, and former Uber executives including Chief Business Officer Emil Michael, New York City General Manager Josh Mohrer and former West Coast General Manager William Barnes.