The rise in e-commerce has made trucking an increasingly vital industry. Despite 21st century technological advancements that have boosted the industry, it’s still run mainly by small businesses and independent truckers, meaning it’s fragmented and often operates on outdated financial platforms. Truckers are feeling the pain of high costs of fuel and antiquated payments systems, leading to lower driver retention.
San Francisco-based startup AtoB used these pain points as a jumping-off point for its business model. AtoB’s integrated financial platform is like Stripe for transportation, says Harshita Arora, its co-founder. The startup’s core product is a fuel card for truckers that provides them with fuel discounts, card security, and an embedded fuel management software. The company has since expanded its offerings to include instant payroll services, and is now targeting next-gen fleets (think rental car companies like Kyte) that need better back-end financial systems to support their growth.
AtoB’s history is only part of what makes this startup story so interesting. The other part is Arora herself, who is now 21 years old, which should give you a hint as to how early she started on her entrepreneurial path. When Arora was 14, she dropped out of school for more challenging pursuits. Two years later, she founded the app Crypto Price Tracker, which became an App Store hit and was acquired by Redwood City Ventures in 2018.
Now, five years later, the company she co-founded with Vignan Velivela and Tushar Misra has raised a total of $230 million in a combination of venture equity, debt and strategic working capital. The latest equity round was a $75 million Series B in November 2021, which also saw participation from Eric Tarczynski of Contrary Capital.
Tarcyznski says Contrary’s ethos is to invest in people, not businesses. Today at TechCrunch Live, we’ll talk to Tarczynski and Arora about that idea, as well as:
- How much pedigree plays into a VC’s decision to invest.
- How the VC and startup world reacts to the Girl Genius versus the Boy Genius.
- How to pivot your business model gracefully.
- The pain points of the trucking industry, and why a fintech product aims to solve them.
- Why AtoB is pursuing a transportation-focused fintech solution rather than a broader fintech product.
What else should we talk about? If you have some questions you’d like us to ask, please register and watch the show on Hopin.
This TechCrunch Live event is free to attend. Register here for the hour-long event. The virtual doors open at 11:30 a.m. PDT for networking, and the interview starts at 12:00 p.m. PDT. You can also register for Pitch Practice and ask Eric and Harshita questions.