Company car parks stand empty outside of normal working hours. ParkBee, a new startup, thinks that’s a great shame. In cooperation with the parking apps Parkmobile and Park-line, it is making office building car park spaces accessible to the public. ParkBee is receiving a capital injection of €1.8 million from four informal investors and InnovationQuarter, the regional development agency for West Holland. The investment will speed up international expansion, not least in the UK. This marks InnovationQuarter’s tenth investment this year.
Parking in prime locations
The investment was announced on Tuesday, 25 October during the official opening of InnovationQuarter’s second office in the recently opened Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC) in Rotterdam. Maarten Struijvenberg, Rotterdam’s alderman for Employment and Economy, symbolically handed over a plaque with the names of the investors to ParkBee’s founder and CTO Jian Jiang and Commercial Director Wouter de Bruijne.
Alderman Maarten Struijvenberg: “The city is pleased to welcome ParkBee to Rotterdam. Having such an innovative company locating here is not only good for the city but the ParkBee solution is of course also great for motorists.”
By collaborating with Parkmobile and Park-line, ParkBee can offer parking spaces to a large number of vehicle users. Since its launch in October 2015, the startup has experienced rapid growth in the Netherlands: 34 company car parks with a total of 1,800 parking spaces have signed up to its smart technology.
International growth and research
ParkBee is using the investment to drive international growth and recently opened its first office in London. This marks the start of the company’s expansion abroad. “ParkBee’s technology makes it simple to operate in other countries,” explains co-founder Tom Buchmann. He adds, “Our technology is easy to integrate, and we have a good network in the property sector that provides us with parking spaces. Our growth in the Netherlands has shown what we can achieve.”
Initially based at the tech incubator YES!Delft, ParkBee recently moved to Amsterdam to be closer to its partner, Parkmobile. Its R&D department will, however, be located in Rotterdam, where the company will further develop its technology.
Wouter de Bruijne, Commercial Director of ParkBee: “There is still a lot more we can do with our technology. This capital injection is helping ParkBee to expand investment in the development of new functionalities that will allow us to continue growing in the future.”
Better use of parking capacity
By opening-up unused company parking capacity, ParkBee is generating a new source of income for property owners. Motorists enjoy an attractive rate compared to the well-known commercial car parks, and they don’t need to spend as much time looking for a parking space. Municipalities also experience less parking pressure, which means that, for example, fewer large-scale investments in underground car parks are required.
Francis Quint, Head of InnovationQuarter Capital, says, “InnovationQuarter is contributing to the sharing economy with an investment in ParkBee, and we find that very appealing. Optimum use of existing buildings is very important for society and good for the environment. We believe that ParkBee has come up with an innovative solution by making better use of existing unused parking spaces.”
Integrated with a parking app
ParkBee’s technology is fully integrated with the Parkmobile and Park-line parking apps and facilitates transactions in the background. Motorists can easily open the barrier with the parking app and then park in the garage.
ParkBee took part in the YES!Delft incubation programme and was a participant in Climate-KIC South Holland’s accelerator programme. It is supported by the ESA Business Incubation Centre in Noordwijk.