- Circle K has joined the latest Series B funding round — worth $15 million — for vehicle payment solution company Car IQ, bringing the technology vendor’s fundraising total to $42 million, according to a Tuesday announcement.
- The new funds will be used to grow Car IQ’s payment platform to meet demand and add new commerce categories, such as electric vehicle charging, repairs, registration and insurance, according to the announcement.
- Circle K, which has yet to bring Car IQ’s platform to its stores, was the only c-store retailer involved in this round of funding, which was mostly led by venture capital firms.
Car IQ’s platform is currently accepted at 21,500 fueling stations in the U.S., including Kum & Go, Sunoco, Shell and others. Its proprietary technology leverages vehicle data to automate the payment process at fuel pumps, allowing drivers to connect their vehicles directly to the pumps, eliminating the need to swipe a credit card, enter a PIN or add an odometer reading.
The frictionless program is a means to reduce credit card fraud risk, which continues to worry fuel retailers and consumers. The continued growth of frictionless fuel payments could signal an operational shift in how retailers sell — and how consumers purchase — fuel moving forward.
For Car IQ, the new funds will let the company move faster and meet market demands from fleets in the commercial and over-the-road trucking spaces, CEO Sterling Pratz said in the announcement.
"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,” Pratz said.
Laval, Quebec-based Alimentation Couche-Tard — Circle K’s parent company — is the largest c-store operator in Canada and the second-largest in the U.S., with more than 7,000 locations in North America. Besides Circle K, its c-store banners also include the U.S. On the Run locations as well as Holiday Stationstores.