An Edinburgh-based vehicle management rental platform which gives independent car hire firms the chance to digitise and compete with the major market players has secured £1.4m in investor funding.

Coastr’s cloud solution delivers benefits including cost savings, higher fleet utilisation, and revenue maximisation, while overcoming barriers to growth by accessing cheaper insurance and financing.  

Its software uses artificial intelligence (AI) and connected vehicle technologies including telematics and direct integrations with manufacturers via partners such as CalAmp and Smartcar to deliver innovations like keyless entry, remote vehicle immobilisation, and real-time usage monitoring to enable complete control over fleets. 

The company already white labels its software so rental companies can accept bookings under their own brand name. Following the funding from London-based investment platform GroVentive, the Coastr team plans to launch additional products into the market in 2022 such as on-demand fleet insurance, integrated vehicle financing and connectivity to market aggregators and booking platforms.

Formerly known as Nuvven, Coastr’s vision is to connect the mobility ecosystem for vehicle rentals. It has partnerships in place with Volkswagen Financial Services (VWFS) and existing customers include UK van rental company Herd Hire Group. Industry partners include Stripe, Sage, and Elavon. The company also plans to launch its own branded mobility services platform, working with rental partners to utilise networks and spare capacity.

Coastr was founded by former Technology Strategist at PwC, Biswajit Kundu Roy, in 2018. Biswajit, a University of Strathclyde graduate who has also previously held senior tech roles at Royal Bank of Scotland, started the company to “reimagine the car rental sector using technological innovation” having experienced “long queues and frustrating vehicle hire moments”. 

Kundu Roy, Coastr CEO and founder, said: “Our vision is to enable vehicle hire operators and help the end customer cut through queues and paperwork to avail a seamless rental experience that is suited for the 21st century.” 

Biswajit Kundu Roy adds: “We are empowering vehicle hire operators by helping them transform their businesses through data-driven decision-making and delivering a truly digital experience to their customers. At the same time, our goal is to help them become more competitive and switch to more sustainable business models like adopting Electric Vehicles and contactless rentals.” 

While Coastr is targeting the UK and Europe over the next two years, its technology is also being trialled outside Europe. Headquartered in Edinburgh, Scotland, Coastr has opened a second office in Bangalore, India, earlier this year where it plans to grow its operational and technology teams.  Over the last twelve months, the company has experienced a fivefold increase in its customer base while doubling headcount to 35 member team.

Bruno Pannetier, chief investment officer at GroVentive, said: “We are excited to have provided such significant investment into an extremely exciting business and we are looking forward to supporting Biswajit and his team on their high-growth plans over the next few years.”