Consumer Goods Mobile Service, Cargo, Launches With Backing From Detroit Venture Capital Firms

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With investments from Fontinalis Partners and Detroit Ventures Partners, both venture capital firms based in Detroit, Cargo Systems Inc. in New York today announced it has launched Cargo, a mobile platform where passengers, using their smartphones, can order consumer products directly from ride-sharing drivers.

Cargo, which participated in Techstars Mobility business consultation platform last summer at Ford Field in Detroit, was recently launched in New York and Boston. The company also has received thousands of driver signups in 47 states.

Cargo is one of the few startups with access to Uber’s Driver API, which provides preferred access to drivers who sign up using their Uber profile. Available to all rideshare drivers, Cargo enhances the in-car experience by connecting passengers to an array of products and brands.

“It’s an open secret that rideshare will disrupt the logistics industry. Cargo will connect millions of people with millions of products every day, across the globe. Products finding you in your moment of need is the ultimate convenience,” says Jeff Cripe, co-founder and CEO of Cargo Systems.

Cargo essentially transforms vehicles into a mobile store. Passengers see products in Cargo’s custom display, equipped with USB charge ports, and place orders on their phone through Cargo’s mobile website. There is no need for an app.

Cargo’s proprietary inventory management system tracks all driver orders in real time and automatically ships replenishment products directly to their homes.

The exclusive rideshare provider for Mars, Kellogg’s, Michel et Augustin, Emergency Stain Rescue, and Leaders Cosmetics, products like electronics, gum, snacks, energy, and beauty and personal care items are offered for sale. Cargo is also creating a platform for product discovery with popular items like hangover cures, trendy Korean facemasks, or the next fidget spinner.

“We help drivers earn more by providing the best ride possible. For drivers, it’s an easy decision: Cargo costs nothing, we pre-pack each Cargo kit, ship replenishments to your home, deposit money directly into your bank account, and improve your ratings. For passengers, you never have to worry about your phone dying, riding hung over, or suffering through that snack-less midnight ride from the airport. Everything you need is a tap away on your phone,” Cripe says.

Drivers say they like the service. “I’ve received consistently higher ratings from passengers, making me eligible for company perks and bonuses,” says Qas Beg, a rideshare driver using Cargo in Boston. “I’m also making an extra $20-$50 a week with no extra work on my end.”

In the coming months, Cripe says Cargo will expand to other cities based on demand. “We have seen interest from obvious places like Los Angeles, Chicago, and Washington, D.C., but also places like Montana, Iowa, and Indiana,” he says. “We also have seen interest from southern college towns.

“Through our experience with Techstars Mobility, we connected with Fontinalis Partners and Detroit Venture Partners,” Cripe adds. “It was a great match, and they are definitely two of the most exciting and validating venture capital firms on board with us.”

To learn about Cargo, rideshare drivers can sign up here.

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