PassPort Parking, which has developed software to help manage parking facilities, plans to boost its staff and expand its marketing with financial backing from Grotech Ventures and Relevance Capital.

Charlotte-based PassPort, which offers its services through a “cloud”-based solution, says it plans to add resources in sales, marketing and engineering. The firm already has customers in 20 states, including the cities of Asheville and Wilmington. 

Grotech and Relevance co-led the round. Several angel investors also participated.

Don Rainey of Grotech, who lives in the Charlotte area and once worked with Intersouth Partners in Durham, sees PassPort as providing a needed solution in a growing market.

“Passport has achieved considerable traction by making a dramatic improvement on what already exists in the marketplace, and it is addressing a market of considerable size,” Rainey said. “They are a model of the kind of innovative company we look to get in with on the ground floor.”

PassPort provides customers management and mobile payment solutions. The company’s solution also offers discounts from nearby retailers at parking garages and lots through a Facebook sign-in.

“We use the latest in cutting edge technology and equipment to unify all aspects of the parking process,” PassPort says. “We empower the provider with tools to ensure that the parking experience is seamless.”

In a recent blog post, PassPort pointed out how using the cloud benefits it and its customers.

“One industry that has yet to wholly adopt cloud hosting is parking. But that is starting to change. Industry leaders are becoming increasingly aware of how much the technology is revolutionizing the way parking systems are managed, while users are becoming mindful of the way it streamlines the whole parking process through mobile payments, validation opportunities and event reservation capabilities,” the authors wrote.

“Specifically, cloud computing now gives parking operators multiple advantages which help their operations become more efficient, responsive, and cost-effective.”

The company also works with customers to private label its solutions.

“The industry lacked tools for operators to make informed decisions, forcing providers into reactionary mode. This ultimately trickled down to frustrated parkers. We’ve created a compelling solution with the most complete, data-driven software system on the market,” said Bob Youakim, Passport’s co-founder, in announcing the funding. “Grotech and Relevance are committed to our vision and bring an outstanding network of resources to help us accelerate and support our growth.”

Charlie Youakim is the firm’s other co-founder. The two are cousins.