Metropolis is a new Los Angeles-based startup looking to compete with BMW’s ParkMobile for part of the automated parking management market.
Upgrading ParkMobile’s license plate-based service with a computer vision-based system that detects cars entering and leaving garages has been Metropolis’ mission since founder and CEO Alex Israel founded the company in 2017.
Israel, a serial entrepreneur, has thought about parking for decades. His last company, ParkMe, was sold to Inrix back in 2015. With this revenue and experience, Israel returned to the drawing board to develop a new type of parking fee and management service.
Now the company is ready for its close-up, announcing not only its launch, but also $ 41 million in funding for the company raised by investors including property managers Starwood and RXR Realty; 01 Adviser to Dick Costolo; Dragoneer; former Facebook employees Sam Lessin and Kevin Colleran’s Slow Ventures; Dan Doctoroff, head of Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs initiative; and NBA All Star and early-stage investor Baron Davis.
According to Alex Israel, the parking fee application is the foundation of a larger business empire that seeks to redefine parking lots as hubs for a wide range of urban mobility services.
In this regard, the company’s goals are no different from Florida-based startup REEF, which has its own vision of what to do with existing infrastructure and the footprint of urban parking spaces. And REEF’s $ 700 million round of funding last year shows that a lot of money must be made, or at least spent, in a parking lot.
Unlike REEF, according to Israel, Metropolis will continue to focus on mobility. “How will parking change in the next 20 years if mobility shifts?” He asked. And he hopes Metropolis will give an answer.
The company hopes to use its latest resources to expand its presence to over 600 locations over the next year. In total, Metropolis has raised $ 60 million since its inception in 2017.
While the computer vision and machine learning technology will serve as the company’s parking space bridgehead, services such as cleaning, charging, storage and logistics could be part of the Metropolis offering in the future, Israel said. “We are becoming an integrator [and] In some cases we also become a direct service provider, ”said Israel.
The company already has 10,000 parking spaces that it manages for large property owners and Israel expects more property managers to flood to its service.
“[Big property owners] I am not thinking of the infrastructure requirements that allow seamless access to these facilities, ”said Israel. Its technology can enable buildings to add value through other services such as dynamic pricing and revenue optimization.
“Metropolis finds the highest and best use, whether it is scooter charging, scooter storage, fleet storage, fleet logistics or sorting,” Israel said.