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Like other city drivers, I’ve wished many times that I could pay someone to park my car.
San Francisco-based startup Zirx is looking to fulfill this desire for an increasing number of frustrated car owners, fueled by its announcement today that it has closed a new round of $30 million.
Launched last June, the company offers a mobile app so weary drivers can signal their location. Zirx promises that an “agent” will arrive within minutes and park the car in a partner garage. If you wish, the valet can get your vehicle washed or filled with gas while you are gone.
When you’re ready to become a member of the car-owning class again, signal via the app and the valet will deliver your vehicle to you, as long as you’re within the coverage area.
Founder and CEO Sean Behr told me via email that customers generally use the on-demand valet service twice a week. If they like, they can start their day by getting their car picked up in one neighborhood and then have it returned at day’s end in another.
Aside from carefully screening drivers, the key to making this work is the efficiency of the platform. Zirx’s co-founders were behind the video ad exchange Adap.tv, which AOL bought for $405 million in 2013.
Luxe Valet, also based in San Francisco and backed by Google Ventures, offers a similar service. There’s also Caarbon, Vatler, and ValetAnywhere. TaskRabbit customers have employed that errand service for car parking, among other chores.
But, Behr said, “our focus is to make having a car easier,” like having the valet also get gas or electrically charge the car, as well as making arrangements for tire rotations and other maintenance. It also plans to add such services as groceries and dry cleaning. (Heck, while they’re at it, maybe they can just handle my entire day while I do some serious TV binge-watching.)
The reality, however, may be that on-demand valet services are turning into commodities, like Uber and Lyft.
Zirx costs $15 for up to 12 hours of parking, with one pickup/delivery on any day at any time, except between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. An unlimited monthly subscription is $300.
Overnight parking is $15, including pickup and delivery, with no charge for monthly subscribers, and gas, car washes, and the like are à la carte. The valet takes photos and videos of the car, as car rental companies do, so there’s agreement on any pre-Zirx damages. The company says it has $2 million of insurance on each car, half for the car and half for the driver.
The new Series B funding, led by Bessemer Venture Partners with participation from existing investors Norwest Venture Partners and Trinity Ventures, complements the initial round of $6.4 million last September.
Zirx will use this funding for further operational and technical development as well as expansion to other unspecified cities. The service is in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.
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