Velocity-linked software company Float has secured $50 million in financing from Silicon Valley Bank to expand its financial services offerings to customers.  

The startup, which specializes in full suite corporate expense management software and cards, simplifies finance teams’ management of expense accounting. It serves businesses of up to 500 people, and some of Float’s 3,000-plus corporate clients include Neo Financial, Knix, Clutch and Nerva Energy.  

Co-founders Ruslan Nikolaev (BCS ‘20) and Griffin Keglevich says that by raising this capital, the company is positioned to attract more customers by expanding its underwriting capabilities.  

“This funding allows us to scale our existing charge card program even further and introduce more customers to Float,” Nikolaev says. “And scaling is critical because we will go beyond serving early-adopters and can serve the broader Canadian economy.”  

When Nikolaev and Keglevich met at the University of Waterloo as computer science students, their passion was to build cool things. They joined Velocity in 2019 to work on a company related to computer vision. Soon after, however, they abandoned their original business idea, and started working on the idea that would become Float.  

“At Velocity, we went through a good number of ideas until landing on Float,” Keglevich says. “Many have that idealism and cool ideas to work on, but a startup has to give tangible value to the world and that’s what we learned from Velocity — how to validate a problem, figure out how you’re actually going to solve it and then solve it.”  

Float card

He says learning that customer-first mindset gives them a leg up to innovate corporate spending, an area of financial services that has remained unchanged for decades.  

“A lot of companies are stuck with chaotic corporate cards and burdensome finances that take time away from employees and with Float they can make their spending effortless,” Keglevich says.   

“We keep the soul of innovation alive by knowing what customers want and that’s how Float can continue to scale.”  

Keglevich’s and Nikolaev’s first months at Velocity was solely spent on customer discovery. Float incorporated in 2020 and after raising a pre-seed round and building the first version of their corporate expense card for small businesses, they recruited Rob Khazzam, the former general manager at Uber Canada, as the third co-founder and CEO of Float.  

Keglevich and Nikolaev says it was difficult to set aside the passion for coding and focus on talking to customers. But it was necessary and ultimately how Float was born and continues to succeed.  

“Expense reporting is not something we thought we were going to be working on,” Nikolaev says. “But we knew the software would make a difference to finance teams and wanted to create an intuitive and powerful experience that scales with businesses.”  

Nikolaev says having conviction to solve a problem is important but, in the long term, hiring the right people and establishing a company culture is essential to success.   

“We have never doubted the scale of this problem and wanted to achieve the potential, but there are many difficult things you have to do aside from building a product and we brought in the right leader to help do that.”