ParkWhiz Raises $61 million to Date with New Investment from the Alexa Fund
ParkWhiz is a Chicago based parking logistics startup with a mobile app that identifies available parking, allows users to reserve spots by prepaying, and use a mobile parking pass to quickly park and leave. ParkWhiz raised $20 million in September during a series D funding round led by NewSpring Capital. Amazon’s Alexa Fund, Alate Partners, Chaifetz Group, and Purple Arch Ventures extended the series D round with a $5 million equity deal that was announced today. The company has raised $61 million to date. Paul Bernard, director of the Amazon Alexa Fund, comments,
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. 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.
Users interact with ParkWhiz through mobile apps, online, and through skills for voice assistants like Alexa. Users can compare parking prices and amenities, as well as purchase daily or monthly parking passes and event tickets. Enterprise service is available through ParkWhiz, too. Enterprises may sign up for ParkWhiz for Business, which allows access to an online employee and visitor parking management system in addition to a booking tool that generates virtual parking passes with directions and instructions.
ParkWhiz Alexa Skill Review: Sort of Helpful, Only in Select Cities
The ParkWhiz Alexa skill is only available in select major cities, including Boston, Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Toronto, and Washington DC. Alexa was able to find the destination easily as users can even name a building as their destination, and Alexa will confirm with you that the exact address is correct. However, even with a specific address taken into consideration for a destination, no visual or voice details of multiple options of available parking creates a disadvantage for using the skill vs. the mobile app or the online version.
With a visual, users are easily able to compare multiple locations and price options. I was not offered multiple options when I tried several DC museums as my destination, and I think that is a downside to the skill. Alexa will tell you that there is a spot “0.3 miles away from the National Mall,” but with no indication as to where geographically that spot is, or what the other options are. It is difficult to see this skill being particularly useful as voice-only. I would recommend sticking to the mobile app as seeing multiple offers of location and price easily is what made the mobile app successful.
Arrive Network is ParkWhiz’s Latest Tool
Arrive Network, created by ParkWhiz, lets any driver using a supported app or registered car automatically pay for parking without pulling a ticket. The Arrive Network leverages Bluetooth and other wireless devices to automatically detect when a car pulls into a lot or parking space and has already begun to roll out in “hundreds” of North American cities. Yona Shtern, CEO and executive chairman of ParkWhiz, says the $5 million equity deal will be used to further expand Arrive Network. She comments,
We are delighted to welcome some of our most important commercial partners like Amazon’s Alexa Fund and Alate Partners to our extended team. 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.
ParkWhiz has been able to grow rapidly by using its seed funding to acquire competitors and to team up with high-profile services. Groupon, Concur, Ford, and StubHub have all integrated ParkWhiz’s booking services. Sports teams have also partnered with ParkWhiz, some including the New York Islanders, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Red Sox. While there are many competitors in the parking booking space, because of the industry’s predicted growth, ParkWhiz may find a niche for themselves with parking lots and garages. According to Statista, parking lots and garages are forecast to generate $9.8 billion in revenue, leaving ParkWhiz in an excellent position for future growth.