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Coast Accelerates in the Expense Management Lane with a Unique Focus on Fleet Operators

Founded in late 2020 by Daniel Simon, Coast positions itself as the modern financial services platform tailored for the evolving needs of the transportation sector.

  • Rebeca Clark
  • April 1, 2024
  • 4 minutes

With well-funded giants like Brex, Ramp, and Navan dominating the expense management market, a four-year-old startup named Coast is carving out its niche, as reported in a TechCrunch article. This innovative company focuses on businesses managing “real-world” field personnel and fleets, such as trucking companies, plumbers, and HVAC services. Launched in late 2020 by Daniel Simon, Coast positions itself as the go-to financial services platform for the transportation industry’s evolving needs, setting itself apart with a specialized approach to expense management for fleet operators.

A Different Approach

Founded in late 2020 by Daniel Simon, Coast positions itself as the modern financial services platform tailored for the evolving needs of the transportation sector. Unlike its competitors that primarily cater to tech startups and large corporations, Coast has developed expense management software and a commercial charge card specifically designed for businesses operating vehicle fleets. This strategic focus on fleet operators and their unique challenges has propelled Coast to impressive growth, with the company witnessing a 550% increase in annualised revenue and payment volume growth in 2023.

Coast’s remarkable trajectory has caught the attention of existing investors and new backers alike, leading to a significant funding round that combines $25 million in venture capital and $67 million in debt financing. The equity raise was co-led by BoxGroup and Avid Ventures, with participation from Accel, Insight Partners, Better Tomorrow Ventures, and newcomer Vesey Ventures. The debt capital commitment comes from Silicon Valley Bank (as a division of First Citizens Bank) and Triple Point Capital, showcasing broad investor confidence in Coast’s vision and execution.

Traditionally, fleet operators have relied on specialised fleet and fuel credit cards that offer basic controls and expense tracking on a per-vehicle basis. However, Coast argues that the market for such cards, dominated by companies founded decades ago, has seen very little innovation. Coast’s solution offers detailed visibility into employees’ spending at the line-item level, integrating accounting tools with vehicle telematics and fleet management software to provide real-time data on vehicle status and location. This comprehensive approach to expense management reflects a deep understanding of the specific needs of fleet operators.

By offering SMS-based mobile sign-in and data collection, Coast enhances security and convenience for drivers while improving data quality for managers. The company generates revenue through interchange fees and charges a flat subscription fee of $4 per month per card used for payments. Additionally, Coast incentivizes its customers with rebates on fuel purchases and other perks when shopping with its partners, which include notable names like 7-Eleven/Speedway and Discount Tire.

Looking Ahead: Expanding Coast’s Capabilities

With the new capital infusion, Coast plans to expand its capabilities and introduce a wider range of financial products tailored for fleet operators. The company is also on a hiring spree, aiming to bolster its team of 60 employees to support its growth and product development efforts.

Coast’s unique value proposition lies in its fleet-specific features and purpose-built software, which distinguish it from competitors like Ramp and Brex. Addie Lerner, founder and managing partner of Avid Ventures, highlights Coast’s potential to become a “very sticky and high-margin business,” drawing parallels with established providers like Wex and Fleetcor. Coast’s commitment to addressing the nuanced needs of an overlooked industry segment positions it as a compelling player in the expense management space.

As Coast gears up to navigate the future of fleet management with innovative financial solutions, its journey underscores the importance of niche focus and tailored offerings in the competitive fintech landscape.

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