Chicago is always looking for its tech niche. The Windy City pioneered the web daily deal, and it’s become the center of online takeout and delivery ordering market thanks to the growth of GrubHub. But a couple of companies may be carving out a new tech niche in the city: Parking.
Parking spot booking service ParkWhiz just raised a $10 million Series B round, led by Jump Capital with participation from Hyde Park Venture Partners, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, former Nokia/Navteq CTO Amreesh Modi, former Technology Crossover Ventures Partner Henry Feinberg and Hyde Park Angels.
That follows on the heels of $4.5 million Series A round raised by newcomer SpotHero, which is building a clearing house for garage spots in several cities. Both companies picked up earlier rounds of funding roughly at the same time only 18 months ago from competing Chicago VCs. Other startups outside of Chicago like ParkMe and Parking Panda are also tackling the same market.
ParkWhiz now counts parking garages, lot owners and event venues in 125 markets among its partners, and it has booked parking spots via its website or mobile app for 1 million different people. The company said it plans to use the funds to treble its staff to 75 employees in the coming year and expand into new cities.