CarIQ raises $15M in Series B funding to enable fleets to pay for goods without a credit card
For companies with hundreds and thousands of vehicles, managing fleet expenses and payments can become a hassle and burdensome. This is in addition to the complex spending rules fleet managers have to deal with. The situation is not any better with merchants, which sometimes face later payment and spending disputes.
Having faced this problem firsthand, a team of seasoned professionals with experience in automotive software and hardware technology, payments, SaaS data systems, and big data analytics, have decided to address these challenges by developing a technology that eliminates the need for credit cards and enhances current Fleet Management solutions.
Enter CarIQ, a San Francisco-based tech startup that has created a new form of machine identity verification allowing vehicles to connect directly with banks and service providers and make purchases without the use of a physical credit card. Car IQ’s payment network enables vehicles to connect to fuel stations and replaces incumbent fuel cards, and greatly reduces tedious back office reconciliation time. Car IQ’s technology brings innovation to the $600 billion connected vehicle payment market that has been ripe for disruption for far too long.
As a result of increasing demand from customers and merchants for its services, Car IQ announced on Tuesday it has raised $15 million in addition to its Series B funding. The oversubscribed round was led by Forte Ventures with participation from existing investors including State Farm Ventures®, TELUS Ventures, and Avanta Ventures (the corporate venture arm of CSAA Insurance Group).
Other backers include new strategic investors Visa, Bridgestone, Navistar, and Circle K also joined the round, which brings the total funding raised to date to $42 million. The company will use the new funds to accelerate the expansion of its payment platform and add new commerce categories such as electric vehicle charging, repairs, registration, and insurance.
Founded in 2016 by CEO Sterling Pratz, Car IQ has created a payment solution developed specifically for vehicles and fleets. Its platform enables vehicles to autonomously initiate, validate, and complete payments for services such as tolls, fuels, parking, and more.
Car IQ’s product, Car IQ Pay, offers commercial fleets an easier way to pay for fuel, tolls, and parking by leveraging vehicle data to automate the payment process. This allows fleets to manage their spending more effectively, develop unique insights, and reduce fraud. Currently, Car IQ Pay is accepted at over 21,500 fuel stations nationwide including Shell, Sunoco, and others across the US.
“These funds will allow us to move faster and meet the market demands from fleets in the commercial and OTR trucking spaces,” said Sterling Pratz, CEO of Car IQ. “Incorporating vehicle data to the payment transaction is a game-changer: we can determine what the vehicle needs before it buys, validate the purchase after the fact, and make the experience for the driver completely frictionless.”
“Car IQ continues to excel in today’s challenging economic climate,” said Louis Rajczi, partner of Forte Ventures. “The company’s patented technology, ability to attract strategic investments from major fintech and automotive companies and high-level commercial partnerships are laying the groundwork for rapid growth of their vehicle payment solution.”