Thirteen years ago, the frustration experienced by Aashish Dalal, a Chicago entrepreneur, when he couldn’t find a parking space at a sporting event led him to set up ParkWhiz, today a popular app and website used by more than 40 million people to find and book parking spaces in garages and major US cities.
The US firm also outsources its technology to partners who use the software to provide services to their own customers: sports fans, for example, can book parking when they buy tickets or on the day of the event, and travel providers, airlines and hotels can offer to help their customers save time looking for parking.
Now the US firm, rebranded as Arrive in January 2019, seeks to expand its scope to improve parking experiences in a whole variety of scenarios, from fleets to connected cars to outdoor parking spaces, and without having to stand in line to pay for parking. And it is looking to its Israeli R&D team to help realize its vision.
Huge shifts in mobility are happening on the ground, said Ilan Tavor, who heads the company’s research and development center in Israel, with technological advances in vehicles and cities that are seeking to become smarter. Parking is at the intersection of all of these changes, he said, and Arrive is at the “intersection of mobility.”
The firm already partners with companies, brands, and municipalities in the US to provide “seamless parking” and other mobility services, with the Israeli R&D team spearheading this push.
Tavor is the co-founder of CodiPark, which ParkWhiz acquired last year, giving the US firm its first foothold in Israel. CodiPark developed technology that digitizes parking lot payments by allowing users to scan their ticket and pay via a smartphone app, thus hastening their exit from the lot. ParkWhiz snapped up the firm and integrated the payment technology within its app.
Now, Tavor is in charge of expanding the Israel team from four to 20 people, and helping the company provide the best possible end-to-end solution to customers, he said.
“We want to increase staff and experiment with new technologies that haven’t yet been adopted in the US off-street market, such as AI and bundled parking, fueling, and charging options,” Tavor said. “Additionally, the team at the R&D center will also be focused on finding ways to drive down the cost of these new mobility solutions, as they are currently too expensive to scale quickly and drive widespread adoption across the US.”
“You don’t scan, you don’t think, you just drive, and the gates open magically, that is the goal of the R&D center in Israel,” he said.
In 2020 the firm also plans to expand services to Europe, the Middle East and maybe Israel, he added.
Arrive’s services are available in thousands of garages in more than 230 cities across the US and Canada. Last year Amazon’s Alexa Fund invested in Arrive, so that using the Alexa virtual assistant, ParkWhiz customers can find and reserve parking spaces using only their voice.