$35M-funded Omni rentals in acqui-hire talks with Coinbase

Physical storage-turned-rentals startup Omni is dealing with layoffs today, two sources familiar with the situation tell TechCrunch. Omni just shed seven operations team members. The startup is in talks to sell its engineering team to Coinbase after also receiving interest from Thumbtack.

Omni’s rental business was doing poorly without enough users paying a few bucks to borrow a tent, bike or power drill. Omni had planned to launch a white-labeled platform allowing brick-and-mortar merchants to operate and market their own rental business.

But despite having plenty of cash left after raising $25 million from cryptocurrency company Ripple early last year, Omni feared the new platform would flop too and its prospects would worsen.

The company is in talks with Coinbase to hire some of the engineering staff, who would have them work on Coinbase Earn, which rewards users with cryptocurrency for completing online educational programs. Some employees are interviewing at Coinbase today. However, a Coinbase spokesperson told me there’s currently no official deal — before noting that there is nothing on the record they can share. Omni promised TechCrunch a statement but then refused to talk on the record.

Omni got its start in on-demand storage, where

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