It’s an all too familiar scenario: You’re running late for the big game, stuck in traffic, and agonizing over where you’re going to find parking. Most of the lots will be full, you worry, and your intuition turns out to be correct. In the end, you’re forced to park blocks away from the spot you wanted and make a mad dash for the venue.
That parking anxiety led Aashish Dalal and Jon Thornton to found ParkWhiz, an app for phones, voice assistants, and the web that lets customers purchase daily, monthly, and event parking and compare parking prices and amenities. It was founded back in 2007, and today it announced a $20 million funding round led by private equity firm NewSpring, with participation from existing investors, including Baird Capital, Jump Capital, and Beringea.
Along with NewSpring’s investment, general partner Glenn Rieger will join the startup’s board of directors.
ParkWhiz will use the proceeds to build out its parking network and expand its footprint into new geographies, CEO Yona Shtern said, as well as to “evolve its … technology to better serve drivers, parking operators, and platform distribution partners.”
“Off-street parking is a large, growing market internationally, and we are proud to be a leader in the space,” Shtern said. “The rapid adoption of connected and autonomous mobility services, coupled with our complementary business models creates an extremely attractive market opportunity for us to expand into and foster new partnerships with consumer brands, parking operators, and asset owners.”
There’s lots (no pun intended) of competition in the parking payments space — apps like Pango, SpotHero, Parkmobile, and Passport vie viciously for drivers’ attention, some going so far as to skirt municipal laws against fee-based bookings. But there’s enough money on the table to make the pursuit worthwhile: Parking lots and garages are forecast to generate $9.8 billion in revenue by 2020, according to Statista.
ParkWhiz has experienced rapid growth in the years since its launch, using seed funding from earlier rounds to acquire competitor BestParking and Tel Aviv-based mobile payments company CodiPark. It has also teamed up with high-profile services like Groupon, Concur, Ford, and StubHub to integrate its booking services with their respective platforms and entered promotional partnerships with sports teams, including the New York Islanders, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Red Sox. (In 2010, it organized parking for the Super Bowl.)
ParkWhiz said its distribution partners number around 300 today and that more than 40 million people use its apps in the over 4,000 parking locations and 190 cities where it has a significant presence. The company also said its consumer-facing apps — BestParking and ParkWhiz — drove more than $50 million in revenue to parking operators in 2015.
“ParkWhiz deploys an innovative approach to a frictionless parking experience, having already accomplished impressive growth in its market,” NewSpring general partner Glenn Rieger said in a statement. “With strong brand recognition, both among consumers and Platform partners, and an accessible, efficient technology, we believe ParkWhiz is ideally positioned for continued growth and scale. NewSpring is thrilled to partner with Yona and the rest of the ParkWhiz management team.”
ParkWhiz, which has more than 150 employees, bootstrapped until 2012, when it raised $2 million from Hyde Park Venture Partners, Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian, and others to launch native apps for Android and iOS. In 2014, it raised $10 million in a funding round led by Jump Capital, and in 2015 it raised $24 million in a round led by Baird Capital.
The company has raised $56 million to date.