From $36 parking to $36 million in funding: ZIRX wants to make city driving stress-free

ZIRX founder and CEO Sean BehrZIRXZIRX founder and CEO Sean Behr

ZIRX founder and CEO Sean Behr had an annoying problem with driving.

He often had to drive between downtown San Francisco and the Peninsula, the southern part of the Bay Area where lots of tech companies are located. Every time he had a meeting in the city, he would leave his car in a parking garage that would cost him well over $US36 for a quick three hour meeting. Worse, parking was hard to find and the payment process wasn’t as simple as other on-demand services like Uber.

“I started thinking: ‘How do we UberX this process?'” Behr told Business Insider. He quickly set up a team and came up with the first version of ZIRX within 10 weeks.

The way it works is quite simple.

For a daily flat fee of $US15, you get a valet agent who comes to pick up your car and find parking for you at one of its partner garages. While your car is parked, you can order additional services like a gas fill-up or a car wash at extra charges, and when you’re ready to leave, the car gets delivered to your requested location. Starting Wednesday, it’s also offering additional services like oil changes, tire rotations, and factory maintenance. It also offers a $US299 a year annual subscription package (it doesn’t include the additional services).

“Our focus is more than just parking,” Behr says. “We’re trying to tell you about other services, like gas and car wash, right in the app. That’s our core differentiator.”

Although only a year old, ZIRX is already available in four cities, including San Francisco, Seattle, Washington DC, and Los Angeles. Today, the company announced it’s raised $US30 million in Series B financing, bringing its total amount raised to $US36.4 million.

The new funding will be used to fuel further expansion and to improve the product, Behr says.

ZIRX declined to share any clear growth figures, other than the fact that its users had more than 3,000 transactions for its services, like gas fill-ups and car washes over the past year. Behr points out that’s what sets ZIRX apart from other competitors like Vatler and Luxe, and the use case will only increase as the service gets better, which is why investors are placing such a huge bet on his young startup.

“I was looking for an old industry that has yet to be transformed by mobile technology,” Behr said about the idea behind ZIRX. “Parking is a $US41 billion industry that hasn’t changed much in the last 15 years. ZIRX takes care of a lot of those parking problems.”

The new round of funding, which comes just 7 months after its $US6.4 million Series A, was led by Bessemer Venture Partners, with participation from existing investors Norwest Venture Partners and Trinity Ventures. Ethan Kurzweil, Partner at Bessemer, is joining the company’s board following today’s announcement.

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