Luxe, a startup that fixes the worst thing about city driving, just launched in New York City

Trying to find a place to park is hands down the worst part about driving in any city.

Valet parking startup Luxe launched in New York City on Wednesday with an army of 30 blue jacket-wearing valets to solve that problem.

Luxe co-founder and CEO Curtis Lee first got the idea for his valet parking app while he was running late for a dinner reservation looking for a parking spot in San Francisco — a city notorious for its lack of parking.

Lee and his then-girlfriend (now-wife) circled the block for half an hour and almost missed their reservation. Lee was so angry, he started sketching out early ideas for the company right there at the restaurant.

So how does Luxe work?

Before you leave your house, you plug in the address you’re going to on your phone. The app tracks you as you make your way to your destination, and about 10 minutes before you get there, it matches you with a Luxe valet attendant. You see what your attendant looks like on the app before you meet up with them, so you’re assured that the person you’re giving your keys to isn’t an impostor.

Dressed in a bright blue jacket, your attendant meets you at your destination, hops into your car, and asks when you’ll need it back and if you want them to run your car through a car wash or to fill your tank up with gas. Then they take your car to one of several lots in the city that Luxe has struck deals with.

For now, Luxe is only available in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and in Manhattan from 57th Street to 96th Street and in parts of midtown. Eventually, it will expand its availability.

Ten minutes before you’re ready to leave, you use the app to request the valet to bring your car wherever you are. The most surprising thing about the app is its pricing.

Parking in urban areas is typically very expensive, but with Luxe, you’ll pay about $US7 an hour, with a maximum of $US30 per day in Manhattan. In Williamsburg, users pay $US5 an hour for parking, with a $US15 maximum. Monthly, long-term parking in Manhattan will cost $US399 per month and in Williamsburg, it costs $US249 per month.

Luxe has raised $US25.5 million in VC funding from Venrock, Redpoint Ventures, BoxGroup, Slow Ventures, SV Angel, SherpaCapital, Upfront Ventures, and others. Its competitors in New York include ValetAnywhere and Zirx, which both offer weekday parking valet services. Currently, Luxe operates in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Seattle and Boston. The company plans to expand to Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and Austin later in 2015.

You can download Luxe for free over at the App Store.

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