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Monkey Parking is creating “parking rage” in San Francisco.
That’s the opinion of Parkatmyhouse.com chief executive Anthony ‘Tony’ Eskinazi. The entrepreneur launched his company eight years ago in London. His app lets people rent out space in their garage or driveway. Parkatmyhouse has 500,000 users worldwide, pulled in $10 million last year, counts BMW as a financial backer, and will soon unveil a mobile app in the U.S.
“Monkey Parking is causing lots of tension,” Eskinazi, a Brit of Turkish descent, said. “They’re a headache. They’re creating parking rage.”
He may be right.
Monkey Parking incurred the wrath of San Francisco’s district attorney Dennis Herrera on Monday. Herrera sent a letter to the startup, saying its app — which allows people leaving a public parking space to auction it off to nearby drivers — is illegal in San Francisco.
Herrera, in a firm but finely worded tome, threatened to sue Rome-based Monkey Parking and its baby-faced chief executive Paolo Dobrowolny if they didn’t cease and desist by July 11. Read Herrera’s letter here.
Eskinazi and his team in London have created their own global parking ecosystem, with churches, schools, and government all using the app, he said. He said his app works with the law, not breaking it, and that one of his customers has made nearly $500,000 renting out garage space near the Chunnel high-speed rail terminal in London.
Eskinazi said Monkey Parking is giving legitimate parking apps a bad name.
“Monkey Parking is not kosher. It’s a terrible solution that doesn’t solve problems,” Eskinazi said.
For his part, Monkey Parking founder Dobrowolny is treading a delicate line. In an email to VentureBeat, Dobrowolny said he was consulting with lawyers on his next move. He didn’t specify whether they were Italian or American attorneys.
Eskinazi pointed out that Parkatmyhouse is above legitimate because it works on the premises of private property owners and forbids the using of public streets and spaces, unlike Monkey Parking. Indeed, Eskinazi has created an entirely new living paradigm for some using the app, saying many users are supplementing their incomes with easy cash, pensioners for example.
Parkatmyhouse has so far gained very little traction in the States — currently around 15,000 users — but the ambitious Eskinazi said that will soon change with the launch of a new app focusing on the U.S. market.
Indeed, he plans to announce a new round of funding by BMW in the coming days to help bankroll the expansion in the U.S.
As for Monkey Parking, Eskinazi and his team are keeping an eye on its fate.
“We are monitoring the situation there very closely,” he said.