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Caura funding to help develop in-car CAZ and toll payments

Caura, a vehicle management platform, has raised $4.2 million (£3m) to develop a range of new products, including toll and clean air zone (CAZ) payments.

Caura Drive already enables users to pay for London’s Congestion Charge and to enter the capital’s ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ) as well as the Dartford Crossing.

The business also recently added the ability to pay for Birmingham’s CAZ and now has plans to integrate all UK toll roads and city tolls onto its platform to enable drivers to pay for all these services in just a couple of clicks.

In addition, the platform will allow drivers to get reminders for road tax (which can be paid from within the platform) and MOT.

Future plans also include parking, maintenance and electric vehicle support.

The funding round was led by TwinFocus Capital Partners, with InMotion Ventures (the investment arm of Jaguar Land Rover), Road Ventures, Pareto Holdings and Quiet Capital.

Jon Oringer, founder of Shutterstock, Antony Sheriff, former CEO of McLaren Automotive, and Rob Wilmot, serial entrepreneur, investor, and advisor to the UK Government as well as unnamed Apple and Google executives joined the funding round.   

Founded by Dr Sai Lakshmi, the former Apple exec who also founded Echo, Caura allows users to simply input their vehicle’s registration number to automatically set up payments for services such as city congestion charges, tolls, tax, MOT and insurance.

The app, which launched in 2020, is currently available on iOS, where it is already used by tens of thousands of car owners. 

Caura will be working with manufacturers to embed its platform into vehicle infotainment systems alongside maps, communications, and entertainment, enabling car owners to manage all aspects of car-related payments and administration directly while onboard.

Sebastian Peck, managing director at Jaguar Land Rover’s InMotion Ventures, said: “In-car infotainment systems are currently primarily used for entertainment, communication, and navigation in our Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles.

“We are really excited about the prospect of seamlessly integrating the Caura platform offering in-car payment for parking, tolls, tax, and congestion, which would be a huge benefit to our customers.

“We are thrilled to back the Caura team’s vision of delivering a digital ownership experience that is setting a new benchmark for the industry.” 

Dr Sai Lakshmi, CEO and founder of Caura, says that the business’s goal was to create a single app from which drivers could manage every aspect of their vehicle’s management and maintenance, from MOT to tax to parking.

“Drivers today have dozens of single-use apps to manage this functionality, and since launch in 2020, we have demonstrated Caura’s value and benefits for tens of thousands of UK drivers.

“This funding will enable us to realise our vision and expand to all drivers with native in-car systems, starting with Jaguar Land Rover, and for Android and web users as well.” 

The Android app will be available in June 2021, and the web app is available now at app.caura.com.

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