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This start-up aimed to turn your next Uber ride into a 7-Eleven

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It’s not enough to be able to order up a ride from your phone and have a driver come to wherever you are to take you wherever you want to go whenever you want. A new start-up is aiming to solve the next big, pressing problem of 2018: what if you get hungry during your ride?

What if you’re in the mood for a Rice Krispy Treat or a bag of Skittles? Or wait . . . what about if you lost your charger and need a new one? Or … hold on . . . you’ve got a headache and you need an Advil before you get to your destination? Don’t panic. Don’t fear. It’s all part of the package offered by a company called Cargo that just received another $5.5 million in financing on top of the $7.3 million already raised to accomplish these goals.

“Cargo is essentially an in-car commerce platform,” chief executive Jeff Cripe said in this Forbes article. “It’s arm’s length convenience.”

It’s also another revenue opportunity for your Uber driver. Drivers earn a 25 percent commission on sales plus a buck for every order, as well as tips if a rider so pleases — a revenue stream that for many earns them an additional $100 to $300 a month. Worried about restocking product? Cargo’s app takes care of that problem by automatically sending drivers new products to replace their diminished supplies. All the products come shipped in a box and passengers just input the box’s ID code on their phones to check out on their phones.

Cargo’s business model is pretty clever. The company is using Uber’s available application programming interface so that a driver can sign up using their Uber credentials and then the company can track their driving habits to stock the right products. The result: junk food for the late night routes and healthy snacks for during the day. Cargo also gets a bunch of product free from food companies that want to offer up samples to potential new customers.

The idea certainly has legs. While still only available in a few cities, there are more than 20,000 drivers signed up and waiting in line. If the company meets its goals of having boxes in 20,000 cars by year end, it can make the claim of having twice as many stores in North America as 7-Eleven. Next to follow: a start-up providing mini-cleaning kits designed for Uber drivers. Or wait: toothbrushes for Uber! Hold on . . . how much space do you need for a deli-meat slicer?

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