By Nancy Dahlberg
Miami parking startup ParkJockey officially confirmed an investment from the SoftBank Group Monday. ParkJockey didn't disclose the amount, but this news follows speculative media reports reported here last week. Sources for Axios said the investment would be in the $800 million to $1 billion range, giving South Florida another unicorn.
Simultaneously with the investment confirmation news, ParkJockey and Mubadala Capital announced they have agreed to buy Imperial Parking Corporation, known as Impark, from a subsidiary of Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and have already acquired Citizens Parking, both leading parking management operators in the U.S.
The news says “a lot about the ability to build a business in Miami and take it to significant size. It should be good news for entrepreneurs and the people in this ecosystem that [creating] something like ParkJockey is feasible here,” CEO Ari Ojalvo told the Miami Heraldin a report this morning.
In a press release this morning, Ojalvo also said: “ParkJockey’s technology enables property owners to better serve their consumers and improve the performance of their real estate assets. We are excited to partner with Impark and Citizens given their strong operating capabilities, complementary geographic reach and dedication to customer service. This acquisition will create growth opportunities for our real estate partners, our clients and our employees as urban mobility and infrastructure develop in the coming years. I look forward to working with James Hyman, CEO of Citizens, who will lead our parking platform business across North America and Europe and with Ty Stafford who will be responsible for all North American operations.”
Michael Ronen, managing partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers, added in the press release: “The parking industry is a significant market but remains fragmented with many opportunities for technological innovation. Human mobility, however, is undergoing huge secular change and there is demand for new driver services, refueling, parking and vehicle staging near key high traffic locations. We believe ParkJockey is ideally placed to capitalize on these themes and transform the parking industry to create significant value for consumers and real estate owners alike."
In the Miami Herald report, Ojalvo also said his aim is to position ParkJockey to serve the self-driving technology. “Real estate needs to be ready for this. Our cars are smart, our phones are smart, but real estate is not connected — it’s pretty dumb. A whole infrastructure is needed to bring real estate to the standard of smart cars so they can communicate with each other.”
ParkJockey will remain based in Miami and now has about 100 employees. Ojalvo founded ParkJockey with Umut Tekin, the startup's president.
Vancouver, Canada-based Impark operates 3,600 parking facilities in more than 330 cities across the U.S. and Canada. Atlanta-based Citizens Parking owns parking brands Lanier, Park One, and AmeriPark, which together operate 1,100 locations in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.
Although the funding amount wasn't disclosed yet, this deal likely will be one of the largest single investments into a South Florida startup and likely could give South Florida another unicorn.
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