The parking-spot-finding app JustPark has scored a major deal with BMW, becoming the first app of its kind to be embedded into car dashboard systems.
On Wednesday, BMW said it’s putting JustPark into its connected Mini cars in the U.K. and plans to do the same for its whole range later this year. The German car manufacturer put £250,000 ($420,000) into JustPark back in 2011, when the app was known as ParkatmyHouse. JustPark also announced a new investment from Index Ventures on Wednesday, but didn’t disclose the amount.
Unlike some of the spot-finding apps that have recently hit the headlines, like MoneyParking and Parkmodo, JustPark is all about privately owned parking spaces whose owners want to make them available. In the U.K., where London-based JustPark has so far focused its efforts, it already has 20,000 locations ranging from schools and churches to private driveways and commercial carparks, with 100,000 spots on offer.
“Let’s say you’re going shopping,” founder Anthony Eskinazi told me. “You’re approaching the high street, and you want to find a parking space near your destination or where you are now. With a couple of taps, your space is reserved. It charges your credit card and will direct you straight to that parking space, and you get a text message or email receipt.”
JustPark is already available for iOS, as well as the web, but going embedded is a major boon for road safety compliance – in the U.K., it’s illegal to use your handset while driving.
According to Eskinazi, the in-car app will be available in the U.K. first. Then, once it has enough parking space inventory in other English-speaking countries such as Canada, Australia and the U.S., it will be installed in Minis there, too. Once the app has been translated, it will also roll out in Europe.
The roadmap (pardon the pun) also includes versions of the app for Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto, once those platforms are fully baked. This will make it possible to spread to other car manufacturers – a much simpler route than going through the painfully protracted process of getting added to each manufacturer’s homegrown in-car infotainment effort.