“$780?” I asked. “You’re kidding me, right?”
I was in the underground garage next to our apartment, asking about rates for monthly parking. After the second-biggest snowstorm in New York City’s history, our car needed some shelter.
The attendant shrugged, turned up the volume on his radio, and shuffled the pages of his New York Post.
We live on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, right next to Central Park. So sure, I figured we’d pay a premium to park there. But $780 a month? C’mon!
But here’s the silver lining:
Determined to find an alternative, I uncovered a less expensive option for me…
And a fascinating investment opportunity for you.
Parking Problem Leads to Investment Opportunity
Every year, New Yorkers spend $1.3 billion on long-term parking.
Add the next five densest cities (like Boston, Chicago and San Francisco) and the tally goes up to $4.8 billion.
With more and more people moving to urban areas (cities now account for 80.7% of the U.S. population), it’s become harder to find parking spots, and harder to find nearby gas stations to fill up the tank and get the oil changed.
But these “problems” are creating an interesting opportunity for a new start-up…
And an interesting opportunity for investors like you.
The start-up I’m referring to is called Valet Anywhere.
It offers “on-demand” parking for urban car owners. As the company says, “It’s the first monthly parking spot that comes to you.”
Basically, a parking valet in your city will pick up your car wherever you are, park it for you—then return it to you later, wherever you happen to be.
(To ensure that valets are trustworthy, potential drivers are heavily screened: they need to pass a road test, as well as a test of “problem-solving” skills to see how they cope with stressful situations.)
If you’d like, your valet can also fill up your car with gas, get it washed, and get your oil changed.
And the best part?
Monthly plans start at $279, which is 65% less than the average rate in NYC.
Progress and Plans
Valet Anywhere launched about a year ago.
After raising $1.7 million from relevant investors (including Uber’s General Manager of NY and its Director of Global Expansion), its monthly revenues quickly surpassed $200,000.
The company’s business model is straightforward:
It costs the company about $200 to acquire each new customer. It recoups that $200 in six-to-eight weeks based on its monthly fees… then it earns a profit of about $1,300 per year.
Just based on that business model, the company could become substantial. But it has a longer-term vision that could make it even bigger:
You see, Valet Anywhere will soon have thousands of cars on hand—cars that are only being utilized about 10% of the time.
It also has proprietary software that organizes car pickups and deliveries, and it already has systems in place to fuel, wash, and maintain them.
Given all these assets, it plans to launch a “peer-to-peer” car-sharing service:
Customers who lend their car would earn a cut of the profits each time their car is rented out, as well as free monthly parking.
And for its role handling everything from logistics to storage to payment processing, Valet Anywhere would earn a cut of every transaction.
The Next Zipcar?
Given the size of the markets for parking, car rentals and personal transportation, Valet Anywhere could potentially turn into a big business and an attractive investment.
A couple of years ago, for example, Avis acquired the car rental start-up ZipCar for $500 million in cash…
And Uber, another transportation start-up, is already valued at more than $60 billion.
But building Valet Anywhere to that scale will take time—and capital.
Which is where you come in.
Thanks to “equity crowdfunding”—where investors like you back private start-ups in exchange for an ownership stake—you can invest in Valet Anywhere today.
The investment would take place on a high-quality crowdfunding website called WeFunder. Valet Anywhere is currently raising $1.05 million, of which about $800,000 is already committed.
To be clear, we’re not recommending that you invest in Valet Anywhere—this is a risky, early-stage venture and it requires diligence and a proper investment strategy—but if it piques your interest, it might be worth digging deeper.
Especially because the minimum investment is just $100.
To learn more, register for free on WeFunder and view the details here »
At the moment, according to SEC regulations, you need to be an “accredited” investor in order to invest. That means you need to have a $1 million net worth, or earn at least $200,000 in annual income.
But if you’re not accredited, not to worry…
Due to a new set of laws called “The JOBS Act,” by May of 2016, just a few months from now, all investors will be able to invest in private deals like this.
In the meantime, happy investing.
Please note: Crowdability has no relationship with Valet Anywhere or WeFunder. Crowdability is an independent provider of education, information and research on start-ups and alternative investments.