The founders of smart parking startup Divvy Parking have given away 40 per cent of their business to automotive insurance industry incumbent, the National Road and Motorists Association.
The investment is fitting with the NRMA’s increasing focus on startups and innovation, but could signal a new era of challenges for the promising startup, often faced when a young business is gobbled up by a big business.
Nick Austin, the chief executive of Divvy Parking, which allows customers to book spare parking spaces inside commercial buildings, said the investment from the NRMA would help it accelerate the rollout of a new enterprise platform and also allows its to access more commuters through the NRMA network.
“There is no doubt this sends a clear signal to the market place that NRMA is serious about investing in technology that is shaping the future of mobility and smarter cities,” he said.
“This investment by NRMA enables Divvy to accelerate our software development and rollout plan.”
The NRMA, which is a member-owned organisation, runs the Jumpstart accelerator program, providing entrepreneurs who have developed products which fit within four key themes – mobility and a connected world, family and communities, digitise our world, and safety on our roads – with $30,000 and mentoring to help develop the business.
It has also invested $1.8 million in delivery startup and Australia Post challenger, Sendle, which went on to raise a further $5 million this year from backers such as Full Circle Venture Capital and Black Sheep Capital. It is also an investor in job outsourcing marketplace Airtasker.
But the NRMA would not reveal the size of the investment it had taken to bring Divvy into the fold.
NRMA Group chief executive Rohan Lund said the major investment in Divvy was part of its focus to use its commercial weight to help develop solutions to the community’s mobility issues.
“Smart technology will be as crucial to solving Australia’s mobility issues as bricks and mortar infrastructure – if not more,” he said.
“Smart parking is an important link in the type of integrated transport system we should be aiming to develop for our cities if we are going to get people and businesses moving around more efficiently.
“The NRMA sees this investment as critical to helping solve one of the biggest challenges facing urban centres across Australia today.”
Divvy already has deals with large property groups such as Mirvac, GPT and DEXUS.
This latest round of funding for the startup follows a $2.5 million investment in 2015 from high net worth individuals.