ParkWhiz, a Chicago parking logistics startup founded by Aashish Dalal and Jon Thornton, is on a roll. A little over two months after completing a $20 million series D funding round led by NewSpring Capital, it today revealed a $5 million equity deal — an extension of the series D — with Amazon’s Alexa Fund, Alate Partners, Chaifetz Group, and Purple Arch Ventures. That brings its total raised to date to $61 million.
CEO and executive chairman Yona Shtern said the capital will be used to further expand ParkWhiz’s recently announced Arrive Network, which taps a combination of Bluetooth, machine intelligence, and sensors to automatically detect and levy fees on registered drivers as they pull into participating parking lots. Arrive is already in “hundreds” of locations in North American cities, he told VentureBeat, including select Chicago parking garages operated by with parking solutions firm Tiba.
“We are delighted to welcome some of our most important commercial partners like Amazon’s Alexa Fund and Alate Partners to our extended team,” Shtern said. “It represents an important opportunity for us to work together to accelerate our growth further, expand our inventory footprint to more premium properties in major urban centers across North America and bring a better way to park to millions of consumers through the Arrive Network.”
Most users interact with ParkWhiz’s service on mobile apps, skills for voice assistants like Alexa, and the web, through which they compare parking prices and amenities and purchase daily, monthly, and event tickets. Enterprises that sign up for ParkWhiz for Business receive access to an online employee and visitor parking management system, plus a booking tool that generates virtual parking passes with directions and instructions.
ParkWhiz has expanded rapidly over the past decade or so, using seed funding from earlier funding rounds as a springboard to acquire BestParking and Tel Aviv-based mobile payments company CodiPark. It’s teamed up with high-profile services like Groupon, Concur, Ticketmaster, and Ford to integrate its booking services with their respective platforms, and entered promotional partnerships with sports teams like the New York Rangers, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Red Sox.
“The Alexa Fund was created to support companies building compelling products and services that leverage voice technology, and ParkWhiz is a fast-growing company that fits that profile perfectly,” Paul Bernard, director of the Amazon Alexa Fund, said. “Customers love using its Alexa skill to find and reserve parking spaces using just their voice, and we’re excited to support them as they pursue deeper integrations with Alexa at home and on the go.”
There’s an abundance of competition in the parking payments space (apps like Pango, SpotHero, Parkmobile, and Passport, to name a few), but no shortage of opportunities to carve out a niche. Parking lots and garages are forecast to generate $9.8 billion in revenue by 2020, according to Statista.
ParkWhiz said its distribution partners number around 300 travel providers, airlines, hotels, automotive OEMs, and others, and that today, more than 40 million people and tens of thousands businesses use its apps in over 5,000 parking locations and 230 cities. It also says that its consumer-facing apps, BestParking and ParkWhiz, drove more than $50 million in revenue to parking operators in 2015.
ParkWhiz, which has more than 150 employees across four states, bootstrapped until 2012, when it raised $2 million in series A funding led by Park Venture Partners, Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian, Amicus Capital, and others to launch its first iOS and Android apps. In July 2014, it brought in $10 million in series B capital from Jump and other participating VCs, and in 2015 announced a $24 million series C round led by Baird.
Additional ParkWhiz investors include Hyde Park Venture Partners and Beringea.