The pink-blazered parking valets have left the streets of San Francisco — at least temporarily.
The on-demand parking startup Carbon shut down its beta in August as it entertains acquisition offers and works on a pivot, CEO Niko Cunningham told Business Insider.
Carbon, or Caarbon as it was first known, was one of three startups in San Francisco that rented space in garages and dispatched valets to pick up cars.
The blue-jacketed Luxe and yellow-shirted Zirx have been fighting over parking San Francisco residents’ cars for more than a year. Carbon was the newest entrant into the race, although Cunningham said the startup “kicked Luxe’s butt” in the neighbourhood they operated in.
But a parking startup is just too capital intensive, and the startup is now in a “smart period,” as he described it, to work on a re-boot.
“For on-demand parking, every time you’re parking a car, you’re spending two, three, even five times more. It’s very venture capital subsidized,” Cunningham said. “Carbon didn’t want to play that game anymore.”
The startup initially raised $US2.5 million last fall, but didn’t want to burn through more cash as it works on its pivot. It has all the data it needs about parking cars and it’s working on a new delivery business, he said.
The idea behind Carbon’s pivot, for now, is to become a delivery concierge service for your car. So, if you order a Carbon valet, you could also request that they have a cold-pressed juice for you, Cunningham explained. If you need your laundry picked up, they will do that and then bring the car back to you at night.
The parking service that will win is the one that saves people time and can “deliver that magic,” Cunningham said.
“For us, this is a completely new operational business. Everything we have to do deliver your car is radically different,” Cunningham said. “We couldn’t support two businesses at the same time. “