DURHAM – VADE, a parking startup launched by a group of UNC-Chapel and NC State college buddies, has closed on a $500,000 seed round.
The next step: building out a customer pipeline to deploy their platform in a handful of cities and test various use cases over the next year, the company’s CEO Ritwik Pavan told WRAL TechWire.
“In the wake of the pandemic, parking behavior and the urban mobility landscape has changed,” he said. “On top of traditional consumer parking, cities have increased focus on general curb management to address the ongoing increase in commercial activity from ride-share vehicles, package deliveries, micro-mobility options, and so on.
“Regardless of what happens,” he added, “[we] are confident that our flexible infrastructure for dynamic curb data will be a critical building block for the future of smart mobility.”
The Raleigh-based VADE is the brainchild of UNC-Chapel Hill friends Pavan (CEO) and Matty Schaefer (COO) and NC State senior Christian Burke (CTO), who founded the company in their sophomore year in 2017.
The platform and app provides “real-time, per spot” parking availability. Its proprietary internet of technology (IoT) solution includes: ParkSight cameras, which are wireless and can be installed on any pole or building; computer vision to detect when vehicles are occupying parking spaces; and database and APIs to store the resulting data with the coordinates and ID of each spot.
Paven said the company has spent the past two years developing its patent-pending technology, and has already finished their first pilot with the City of Raleigh and launched their first API integration.
He admitted it was a “challenge” raising a seed round in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, but they managed to secure the funds from a handful of angel investors, including the billionaire hedge fund investor Julian Robertson.
Looking ahead, he remains optimistic.
“VADE wants to improve every aspect of urban mobility from showing drivers real-time parking availability to helping cities manage commercial loading zone activity,” he said.