6 Companies Working on Smart Parking
While driverless cars may be dominating the headlines these days, there are many far less complex driving problems we can solve using technology. Take parking your car as an example. IBM did a study in which they found that 30 percent of a city’s traffic is caused by drivers searching for a parking spot. Not only is searching for parking spaces a time waster, but it also leads to a whole lot of pissed off people. One fourth of drivers has admitted to getting in an argument with someone about a parking spot (seriously?). Since we seem to be a ways off from cars that park themselves, let’s take a look at five startups working on “smart parking”.
Founded in 2014, Denver based ParkiFi has taken in nearly $11 million in funding to develop a real-time parking spot occupancy platform that allows drivers to find free parking spots easier and allows parking operators to increase tickets revenues by around 20% on average. The sensors are adhered to the lot’s surface, curb, or wheel-stop with construction grade adhesive with a total install time of just 2 minutes. They work by measuring the change in magnetic field caused by a vehicle and have a battery life of approximately 5 years. The sensors are installed for free, but you’ll need to pay for access to the dashboard which stores all that big data up in “the cloud”.
Founded in 2011, Chicago based Spot Hero has taken in $27.5 million in funding to develop a smart parking reservation service that helps drivers reserve parking spots with convenient garages, lots and valets. All you do is search online or through a smartphone app to see locations that match your required parking time as seen below:
You can choose the spot you desire and then book it with the ability to cancel up to minutes before the reservation starts. With coverage exceeding 2,500 garages, lots, and valets in major U.S. cities, Spot Hero claims to be the #1 downloaded parking lot reservation app. The platform offers both hourly and monthly rates and claims that you can save up to 50% on parking since they have negotiated deals with many of the parking spot providers. Spot Hero has now smart parked over 3 million cars and counting.
Update 08/23/19: SpotHero has raised $50 million in Series D funding to expand its reach in the 300 U.S. and Canadian cities where it is already operating, build out its digital platform, and strengthen partnerships with mobility companies. This brings the company’s total funding to $117.6 million to date.
Founded in 2006, Chicago based ParkWhiz has taken in $36 million in funding to develop a solution that allows you to reserve a guaranteed parking space in over 200 cities around the U.S. including airports and even special events parking. In late 2015, ParkWhiz acquired the leading parking service in New York, BestParking. We tried really hard to find out how Park Whiz and Spot Hero have differing value propositions and we just couldn’t find anything other than ParkWhiz refers to your parking spot as “a happy place”. These two companies just need to undergo some sort of corporate event and become one with each other.
Founded in 2014, Israeli firm Spaceek has taken in just $572,000 in funding to develop a solution that connects drivers to parking spots in real-time. The Company claims to have a patented architecture that will produce the most affordable smart parking sensor network on the market today. They also claim to be using machine learning algorithms in order to best match driver and parking spot. The real question is, do drivers really want to be fumbling with their smartphones while driving in order to find that “real-time” parking spot?
Founded in 2014, Pittsburgh based MeterFeeder has taken in $120,000 to develop a low-cost payment and enforcement solution for small to mid-sized governments. To put this in layman’s terms, they want to enable you to pay for the parking meter with your smartphone without having to use coins. How appealing does that sound!? While there are actually a fair number of startups targeting “mobile-enabled smart parking meters”, MeterFeeder doesn’t require an expensive upgrade to the legacy coin meters. Instead, it uses GPS to determine which price zone you are in and lets you pay by entering your license plate and credit card information. Of course, the parking enforcement officers for the zones covered by MeterFeeder will also have to have an app that allows them to see if vehicles with expired meters have paid using MeterFeeder. While this solution may end up being dominated by “mobile enabled smart parking meters”, it still provides a cost-effective solution for small to mid-sized governments.
Founded in 2005, Streetline had taken in just over $80 million in funding from investors like Qualcomm and Citigroup to manage vehicle parking through the customized design and application of new sensing technologies. Whatever smart parking solutions they were working on must have shown some real promise because they were acquired last year by an Austrian company called Kapsch TrafficCom. To-date they have handled over 508 million parking events.
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