ParkBee closes €5 million funding round to ease the stress of parking in UK cities

Car park bee

ParkBee, a tech startup with smart technology to open up private car parks to the public, has announced it closed €5 million in funding to scale its business in the UK.

After successfully growing in Amsterdam, the team is bringing affordable and accessible parking at premium spots to London.

This round of investment is led by German-based Statkraft Ventures with participation of existing investors. Statkraft Ventures is backed by the Statkraft Group, Europe’s largest generator of renewable energy.

With in excess of 60 locations in the Netherlands and over 20 locations opened in the last months in the UK, ParkBee has proven its potential, by using smart technology that enables users to open up the barriers and doors from the RingGo and Parkmobile apps. The €5 million investment will ensure the company scales in London, making it possible for a further wider UK expansion in the near future. This funding round guarantees the UK team will grow from 10 full-time employees to 25 in the coming months, solidifying a successful entry in the UK market by a European company after Brexit.

Parking can be an enormous hassle for anyone driving in London. According to a study published by INRIX, UK drivers spend an average of 44 hours a year searching for parking –in London, the time drivers spend looking for a spot is around 67 hours each year–, costing the UK economy more than £23 billion annually in wasted time, fuel and emissions.

Tom Buchmann, Co-Founder and Managing Director of ParkBee, commented: “‘It’s hard to believe that there are so many unused parking spaces in London, whilst parking in London is such a hassle. In the last two years in the Netherlands, and last months in the UK, we have proven we can open-up these hidden location, that are most of the time behind speed gates or barriers. By partnering with real-estate owners and our integrated solution in the Parkmobile and RingGo app you can now open-up the barrier or speedgate with a click of a button.”

Smart technology

The ParkBee technology is fully compatible to any parking system and provides seamless entry for the consumer. ParkBee installs it’s smart hardware at the location and via their integrated software the location can be opened remotely via the Parkmobile and RingGo apps –in the UK alone, RingGo has 12 million registered users. The real-estate owner keeps control and can still manage the availability and ParkBee will optimise the occupancy of the location.

Stefan Hülsen, Senior Investment Manager at Statkraft Ventures, said: “ParkBee is a fantastic example of a company providing a solution to a problem witnessed in many cities and large towns. While populations in numerous cities are becoming more dense, the infrastructure isn’t necessarily in the right state to deal with an increased demand. By making optimal use of the parking spots that are already available ParkBee opens-up new opportunities to park. ParkBee is a prime example of a company enabling cities to become smarter and fairer, while empowering citizens and businesses to improve and solve a problem.”

More than a million private parking spots

Founded in 2013 in the Netherlands by Jian Jiang and Tom Buchmann ParkBee aims to fix the problem of parking in big cities through technology. The company realised that while a lot of drivers struggled to find a decent parking spot there were plenty of private car parks in great locations, sitting vacant for long periods of time, that were also not accessible for public use, such as private office car parks, apartment buildings, hotel car parks and shopping centres. In London alone, according to a study commissioned by Transport for London*, there are over 1 million private parking spots, with the value of a 20-spot garage hitting easily £50,000 in annual revenue for the owner (based on calculations made by ParkBee).

The list of private property companies ParkBee is already working with include JLL, BT and local councils.

Jont Cole, COO at JLL Professional & Advisory and Alternatives, added: “JLL is engaging with ParkBee to enable landlords to secure additional revenue from under-utilised car parking. This is an exciting type of service that will help transform how people park in cities across the UK.”