Chicago drive-up app war: NewSpring picks ParkWhiz in $20 million deal

NewSpring Growth

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NewSpring Capital, the Radnor firm that invests money for clients including the Pennsylvania state pension fund (SERS), last Friday said it had led a $20 million capital infusion into Chicago-based ParkWhiz Inc., maker of a parking reservations and payments system designed to find parking spaces and let you choose, based on location and price.

Parking apps are highly competitive — and a software-development specialty in Chicago, where ParkWhiz and at least two well-funded competitors are based. ParkWhiz claims more than a million users, through multiple partners and brand names.

Like its rivals, it is scrambling to sign up curbside and garage real estate in hopes of collecting fees from drivers willing to pay extra bucks for speeding parking arrangements so you can avoid circling the upper decks of a big-city parking garage in frustration.

ParkWhiz raised an earlier $37 million, since 2014.  Earlier investors, including Baird Capital, Jump Capital, and Beringea, joined NewSpring in this Round D (fourth-time) funding.

"Our biggest competition is SpotHero. SpotHero and ParkWhiz are one and two — that close — but they're very different business models," NewSpring partner Glenn Rieger, a ParkWhiz board member told me.