Last week, Chicago startups were really, really into cars and car-related entrepreneurship. But the lot for parking-related apps in Chicago is getting, well, a little cramped. This week alone, two more startups rolled into town with parking-app related announcements. Soon, we could have a drag race on our hands. Who are you putting your money on?
SpotHero, an app that can find and book parking spots for you in high-traffic lots across the city, has been steadily increasing in popularity. And it’s not just growing within the city limits. In April, the company announced it had acquired San Francisco's ParkPlease, which added 250 new SpotHero locations to choose from in the city. In addition to Chicago and San Francisco, the Excelerate Labs graduate also operates in Baltimore, Boston, Denver, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, New Orleans, Newark, New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington DC.
Like SpotHero, ParkWhiz helps you easily find a reserve parking spots across the city. Earlier this year, it introduced its new pricing model Simple Price Parking, in a move to ease the pain of finding cheap, accessible parking when driving in the city. With ParkWhiz, users can now pay a flat rate of $5 for one hour, $10 for two hours, and $15 for whole-day parking.
Parche is a cashless, free, and digital valet parking platform that’s available at more than 75 restaurants and bars throughout Chicago. Recently, they just signed on with Soho House and Hotel Lincoln to become the first valet parking app to serve hotels. With the app, you can pay for parking, leave a tip, and request to have your car returned to you. They’re preparing to launch in Miami and Dallas soon.
Parche will likely face some steep competition from Luxe, another on-demand valet service app hailing from San Francisco. On Friday, Luxe expanded the pilot of its Drive Home feature from San Francisco to Chicago and Seattle. Drive Home allows customers to request a valet to drive them home safely after a night on the town—and in their own cars, at that. The service is available Friday and Saturday nights and is available in many areas downtown Chicago and in several neighborhoods, including Lakeview, Lincoln Park, and Wrigleyville.
ParqEx is the Airbnb for privately-owned parking spaces. It recently launched in Chicago to help the city’s residents monetize their unused parking spots. The ParqEx app and website let users list and rent their personal sparking spots by the hour, day, week or month, giving drivers a multitude of new parking opportunities—even in the city’s busiest areas.