December 4, 2018

SoftBank invests around $1B in ParkJockey, a tiny parking startup that operates in 4 cities

A tiny Miami-based startup called ParkJockey raised between $800m and $1B from SoftBank, reports Axios

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.

A big deal for a little company

The 4-year-old ParkJockey has just 50 employees, and its app gets fewer than 3k downloads per month. But SoftBank seems to think it’s doing something right with its tech stack.

Most parking companies are either small and high tech (like ParkJockey) or large and low-tech (like many of ParkJockey’s competitors).

But since SoftBank wants both, it is allegedly giving ParkJockey cash to buy out 2 of its big rivals, Impark (which operates 3.6k parking facilities in 330 cities) and Lanier (which operates at least 1.1k facilities in 20+ cities). 

If you fund it, they will park

Investing in a big parking tech company is a no-brainer for SoftBank, which has invested billions in American businesses that would benefit from parking spaces (ride-sharing and self-driving cars companies). 

But since no “park-tech” giant exists yet, SoftBank has decided to engineer its own, combining ParkJockey’s powerful end-to-end technology with a massive national network of competitors’ parking spots to produce a park-tech giant overnight.

SoftBank has already built its own smart-parking business in Japan, and now it has everything it needs to do the same in the US.

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