Coaster Cycles of Missoula landed a new round of investments this week, allowing it to expand its local manufacturing facility and reach into new markets.
Andrew and Thomas Parkinson, the co-founders of Peapod, and San Francisco investors John Lyman, Katherine Kennedy and Grant Allen of SE Ventures, provided the financing.
Ben Morris, founder and CEO of Coaster Cycles, said the investment will also help expand the company’s existing rental fleet in Boston, where Coaster began with a ride outside of Fenway Park.
“As cities and technology evolve, we believe a last-mile perfect storm is brewing that requires a solution like Coaster,” Morris said. “And that’s why, as a high margin and profitable business, it made sense for the company to pursue outside investor capital. Beyond funding, we’re very fortunate to have an engaged an experienced investor group to help us grow strategically.”
Justin Bruce, the company’s COO, told Missoula County commissioners in June that Coaster planned to add 39 jobs over the next two years if the prototype of its new electrically assisted and fully enclosed cab takes off.
Coaster opened five years ago and now employs roughly 20 workers. It also plans to add 8,000 square feet to its manufacturing facility in Bonner to accommodate its future plans.
Coaster builds and operates eco-friendly mobility products that provide transportation, delivery and branding services. Coaster’s rental fleet provides customers “a new way to ride, drive and connect.”
Mike Culver, the company’s chief marketing officer, said Coaster is ready to scale up.
“We are in a unique position to be actively building a new segment of the micro-mobility market with our clients and partners,” he said. “It has been very encouraging to see the demand for Coaster products and services from cities, businesses and communities alike.”
Coaster Cycles has established a list of noted clients, ranging from Wendy’s and the U.S. Coast Guard to Lyft and UPS. It’s currently talking with other delivery companies about its new prototype.
The company has caught the eye of investors, including Andrew Parkinson, who co-founded Peapod, an online grocer founded in 1989 with seed money from friends and family.
“Having followed closely the incredible growth of online grocery and restaurant food delivery and the constraints of last-mile delivery in congested markets, I believe Coaster – with its talented team, superior products and profitable business model – will experience explosive growth over the coming years,” Parkinson said in a statement.
The latest round of investment will support the expansion of Coaster’s manufacturing facility in Bonner and add to its rental fleet in Boston. The funds will also allow expansion into new markets.
“With the pressures to reduce carbon emissions around the world, and especially in congested cities, Coaster provides a cycle-driven alternative to cars and trucks,” said Thomas Parkinson. “Coaster is poised for explosive growth to meet the demands of a nimble and clean transportation alternative for restaurants, retail and logistics.”