Chinese parking assistant startup U-Parking announced today that it raised RMB 12 million (around US$ 1.74 million ) Series A led by Gobi Ventures.
U-Parking (有车位), founded in Beijing in 2014, provides distributed parking space supplies in big cities in China and secures decent parking experience for both individual users and car-sharing businesses. U-Parking has implemented a parking spot booking and automated allocation system, using car license plate numbers for identification, to maximize the parking space utilization across the city, and at the same time to cut down marginal costs encountered in parking management.
“U-Parking’s services are perfectly matched to the existing car-sharing services, because they give their business partners more choices of parking spaces at a low cost, and these parking lots are even monitored,” said Michael Zhu, Managing Partner at Gobi Ventures.
The funding will be utilized to expand its business by providing parking services covering more “nodes” or parking lots in urban areas. U-Parking has now covered more than 300 “node” in over 180 core business region in Beijing’s downtown area. The startup will soon expand its service to other major cities in China including Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, etc.
As a B2C platform, U-Parking mainly goes after commuters, who suffer an increasing degree of unpredictability in parking due to scattered distribution of parking lots, non-standard prices and poor managements. To counter these issues, U-Parking has incorporated features into its app that allows its users to estimate parking costs ahead of time and to ensure standardized services when parking.
At the same time, U-Parking is integrating various third-party service providers such as restaurants and gas stations into its platform to provide all-rounded commuting service for users.
Along with the motorization of China, parking is becoming a big concern for Chinese urban residents especially those in metropolises like Beijing and Shanghai. The rising demand fostered a hot vertical of on-demand parking. Major players in the field include Tingchebao and 51Park.