M&A / FundingProptech

Docklands Ventures scoops up South African ParkUpp for parking spot marketplace

South African parking startup, ParkUpp, has been acquired for an undisclosed amount by Docklands Ventures, the real estate investment firm owned by former JLL Chairman for Sub-saharan Africa, Mark Bradford.

Bradford, now CEO of Docklands, noted the acquisition as a great addition to his portfolio of companies as he works to create a “powerful ecosystem of proptech ventures in South Africa.”

Bradford is also the developer and owner of MarketTrade.co.za, an online marketplace for buying and selling commercial property.

Founded in 2016, ParkUpp is a marketplace that connects owners of parking spaces with companies and individuals who need parking. The startup’s solution is used by listed property funds across the country including shopping centers, private parking facilities and co-working spaces.

Users can filter if they are looking for underground reservations, covered parking, on-site guards, CC-TV and even controlled access. Travelers can also filter by car size, so a camper van isn’t routed to a compact-only spot.

The model mainly focuses on daily to monthly parking, with a built-in booking and payment system. Property owners benefit by not having to source, sign or secure payment from a new tenant.

“This is my first exit as an entrepreneur and I couldn’t be more proud to hand it over to an experienced individual like Mark who not only brings experience but his vast network too. I believe ParkUpp is in safe hands and will continue to prosper and grow,” said Palesa Moloi, CEO of ParkUpp.

In 2021, ParkUpp released its sister brand Troob, an Airbnb-like platform for art galleries, photo studios and film sets; it is set to launch in New York in early 2022.

In 2021, Troob was accepted into Starta Accelerator’s Fall 2021 Cohort – a 6-month soft landing program in New York, designed to help international startups scale their U.S. market presence and raise capital.

“ParkUpp is an innovative market leader. Docklands is excited to continue the legacy and grow the brand. I wish Palesa and team the best with Troob as they venture to New York to start a new chapter,” said Bradford.

Similar tech is already being utilized in the US, such as SpotHero, a digital parking marketplace that connects drivers looking to reserve and pay for parking spaces with parking lots, parking garages and valet services.

AirGarage, a full-stack startup that works with parking real estate owners and offers a full-stack software and management service for their lot or garage, also managed a $12.5M round led by a16z in October.

Needless to say, if the funding trends for parking tech reach south Africa, ParkUpp has a promising future.

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