Japan’s SoftBank Group announced this week that it is leading a large investment in parking app startup ParkJockey. According to Axios, one source has estimated the investment at US$1bn, while another valued the deal at $800,000.
ParkJockey was founded in 2013 and is based in Miami, Florida. The company provides an SaaS platform that helps optimize efficiency when parking in urban environments by operating as a reservation system that takes into account parking spaces in garages, lots and valet operations, according to Parking Network.
SoftBank’s investment is large, considering ParkJockey is a mid-stage startup with 50 employees and fewer than 3,000 app downloads per month. The Hustle reports that “it’s a confusingly large investment in a company that currently operates in 4 cities. But for SoftBank, it opens up parking spots for its other American investments: ride-sharing giants and self-driving car companies.”
After establishing its own digital parking operation in Japan, SoftBank - which invests heavily in US ride sharing and self-driving car companies - is giving ParkJockey the funds to absorb several large-scale, low-tech parking operations. According to the Hustle, SoftBank’s investment will fund ParkJockey’s purchase of “Impark (which operates 3.6k parking facilities in 330 cities) and Lanier (which operates at least 1.1k facilities in 20 cities)”, providing a US base for the small tech company beyond its operations in Miami, Chicago, New York, and San Francisco (as well as the UK).
According to Axios, “ParkJockey's ambition is to displace garage operators by selling a technology-based alternative to the garage owners, according to a pitch deck from March. It then wants to sell space access to customers like ride-hail and car rental companies.”