Picture this: You commute to your 9 to 5 job every weekday, leaving your driveway empty from, well, 9 to 5. Someone else works near where you live and spends valuable time each morning driving around in circles to find a parking spot, or coughs up more than they will pay for lunch to pull into a parking garage. What if you could rent out your unused driveway while you’re at work, providing other drivers with a parking alternative? Well, thanks to a U.K.-based startup called JustPark, you can. JustPark (formerly ParkatmyHouse) provides an online parking marketplace that connects home and business owners who have available parking spaces with drivers looking for additional (and more cost-friendly) parking options. Users can book a parking space for as little as 30 minutes and for as long as a year. Just last week, JustPark announced that it received new funding from VC firm Index Ventures, and also announced a partnership with BMW that will integrate the parking service into MINI cars through a dashboard function. These are big steps forward for the eight-year-old company, which is trying to solidify its place in a potentially massive market and planning to ramp up international expansion.
But it faces stiff competition based on our research using the PitchBook Platform. A number of parking startups have emerged in recent years, and they’ve quickly grabbed the attention—and funding—of venture capital investors.ParkWhiz and SpotHero, both headquartered in Chicago, have landed funding from major VC firms within the past couple of months. ParkWhiz raised $10 million of Series B funding from Jump Capital and Hyde Park Venture Partners, among others, in July; that investment valued the company at $27 million. SpotHero picked up $4.5 million of Series A funding from investors including Chicago Ventures, Battery Ventures and 500 Startups in June; the round valued the company at over $17 million.
While the Chi-Town rivals battle it out, there are other VC-backed parking startups looking to take a bite out of this emerging market. Two more companies, both of which scored Series A funding rounds in 2013, are Parking Panda and PassportParking. Parking Panda raised $4.8 million in February of last year, while PassportParking grabbed $6 million last December; both startups are valued at $16 million. And let’s not forget about Parko, an Israeli startup that raised $1.1 million of seed funding this past June.
Though there have been controversial parking apps that have hindered the innovation and growth of this relatively new and promising industry, the offerings of the companies mentioned above stand to benefit all parties involved. Whether a homeowner is earning extra cash by renting out driveway space or a parking company executive is more efficiently filling the thousands of parking spots he manages, these companies make it easier for parking owners to maximize their revenue, while providing drivers with a convenient way to park.
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