Over the last few weeks in San Francisco, you might have noticed guys standing around in SOMA or the Financial District or Mid-Market wearing ZIRX t-shirts and thinking to yourself, “ZIRX? What’s that?”
Well I’m here to tell you: ZIRX is an on-demand valet startup that charges $15 a day to park your car (and bring it back to you)… And it just raised $6.4 million from Norwest Venture Partners and Trinity Ventures to make parking in San Francisco a whole lot easier.
ZIRX allows users to have their cars valeted from locations in San Francisco by designating where they are (or will be soon) via a mobile app. The company then dispatches a valet to come retrieve the vehicle and park it in a secured garage nearby that ZIRX has partnered with. When it comes time to leave, users simply request their to be brought wherever they are and another valet drives the vehicle back.
With both interactions, the user is required to validate that they are the car owner with a four-digit code, to ensure hand-off to the right person. Pickup and drop-off take about 5-7 minutes, according to founder Sean Behr.
The company seeks to eliminate the issues and high cost associated with finding parking in the city, by having valets meet drivers — rather than the other way around — and by charging a $15 per-use fee for parking. That’s in-line or even cheaper than the cost of many garages around the city during regular hours, and it’s much cheaper than the cost of parking during special events like concerts or ball games. The service also has a side benefit where users can use a “secret menu” to have their cars washed or gas topped off while they are busy.
To enable the service, ZIRX partners with garages in different parts of the city, and has built a logistics layer to route its valets around to pick up different cars and drop them off at the nearest garage. ZIRX is now available in select parts of San Francisco, and expanding to new areas over time as it secures partnerships with garages in different neighborhoods and tests demand.
It raised its funding to help drive that expansion in San Francisco and other markets, and has also added a couple of board members. Along with the raise, Norwest partner Sergio Monsalve and Trinity general partner Ajay Chopra have both joined the company’s board.