Passport raises $8 million to help cities offer pay-by-mobile parking, transit

Passport Inc. raised $8 million in a Series B round of funding to help cities make parking and transportation systems easier for people to use, and harder for them to abuse.

MK Capital led the investment in Passport, joined by Grotech Ventures and Relevance Capital. The new round brings Passport’s total capital raised to $17 million.

The Charlotte, North Carolina startup provides the cloud-based software behind city transit and parking apps including: ParkBoston, ParkChicago, Toronto’s Green P Parking app, GoTuscon, and others across the U.S. and in Canada.

Among other thing, Passport-powered apps let users pay for parking with their phones instead of with a credit card swipe or quarters at the meter, apply for and attain parking permits, buy mobile tickets or passes for trains and buses, and pay off their parking tickets or other citations by phone.

On the back-end, the apps help city offices and employees share real-time data about what’s happening within their various transit and parking systems, and make decisions about where to dedicate more law enforcement, other personnel, money and resources.

According to CEO Bob Youakim, the startup was cashflow positive before raising the Series B round.

He said Passport would use its capital for hiring, international expansion beyond North America, and to add to the feature set of Passport’s apps. But he declined to disclose what, specifically, is in the works.

Apps to help cities adapt as autonomous vehicles hit the road are a long-term possibility, he said.

Competitors to Passport include other venture-backed, enterprise tech providers to cities and their transportation-related offices, such as Transloc, Masabi or SilverRail Technologies, along with larger tech companies that have long been playing in the “smart cities” space with a focus on transportation such as IBM or Xerox.