San Francisco-based QuickPay, which offers a mobile payment and access solution for on- and off-street parking providers, is announcing it has raised a total of $3.5 million in funding to date, including a previous round from Fontinalis Partners, and new funding from Andreessen Horowitz, Advanced Technology Ventures (ATV), and several angel investors. Founded in 2010, QuickPay launched in October 2011, and raised an undisclosed amount of funding in February from Fontinalis, a Michigan-based investment firm focused on the transportation industry that counts Bill Ford Jr., the Chairman of Ford Motor Co., as a co-founder.
While originally focused in San Francisco, the company has since expanded to 12 cities including Denver, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles. BetaKit reported in February that the company was active in 80 lots in the San Francisco Bay Area, and that has grown to over 100 lots across all of its territories, with 12,500 parking spots available through the QuickPay system. QuickPay’s executive chairman Barney Pell previously founded Powerset, which sold to Microsoft in 2008 for $100 million. He announced today that he is moving into the role of CEO, and said the new funding will go to U.S. expansion, marketing, and growing the team of 20 to 30 people by the end of 2012. “We’re using the funding for expansion,” Pell said in an interview. “We’re heavily engaged with the parking industry, we’re working on a whole bunch of product development expansion, we’re hiring more people.”
QuickPay allows drivers to find parking spots in either attended or unattended parking lots using its iPhone and Android apps. Today they’re also expanding that to include off-street gated lots, and they’re already active in 10 gated lots in San Francisco. If a driver parks in a gated garage, they scan their smartphone on the way in, which lifts the gate, and when they leave they approve the charge to their credit card. Garages can get set up with QuickPay’s system for free, and are subsequently charged a percentage fee per transaction, and the company also charges consumers a transaction fee. Pell said the transaction fees vary by operator.
Pell said QuickPay’s strategy for expansion will be to partner with parking operators in a given region, and then expand to their other locations, like they did with main partner Douglas Parking. “One way to drive your expansion is you have a partner who takes you into their new places, and in those new places you plant the seeds there with that partner, and then you start expanding out to the other folks, just like we’ve been doing in the Bay Area,” Pell said. The company is working with four parking operators in the Bay Area, and will be looking to add to that number.
The company’s previous investor Fontinalis already had several parking-focused companies in its portfolio, including ParkMe, which allows developers to integrate parking into navigation, automotive and location-based services. It also includes digital parking permit company Parkmobile, which is like Zipcar for parking, and allows users to pay for parking by phone or using the mobile app when parking in designated Parkmobile spots. While in February Pell said that they were speaking with other portfolio companies about partnership opportunities, they haven’t solidified anything to date.
Pell said their parking partners are seeing returns from using QuickPay’s solution, including one garage that was able to make $3,000 per month in incremental parking because it was able to move to daily parking as well as monthly passes. Pell also cited another example with its biggest partner, Douglas Parking, which was able to make prime spots QuickPay-only spaces, so they can charge a higher price and not have full-time workers taking up those spots. Pell said they’re also giving parking companies data on how people are using parking lots, which he said could eventually lead to more differentiated pricing models. “We’re giving them data about the usage that they don’t normally have, so they can start understanding what percentage of the people who park are repeat parkers, what kind of people are brand new, how long people are staying,” he said. “They didn’t have that information before and now they do.”
The company will be looking to raise Series A funding this year, and to launch its on-street parking solution. They’ll also be looking to update their mobile applications so they work across any on-street or off-street parking lots. The company is helping a traditionally non-tech savvy industry, and hoping to win consumers over with its mobile parking solution. If it can expand to new cities across the U.S., as well as launch on-street parking solutions, they might be able to solve a number of parking pain points for both consumers and operators.