A few months ago, two Los Angeles start-ups building apps that let people pay for valet parking through their smartphones offered competing pitches at a meeting with local leaders.
The encounter spurred discussions that ended Monday night with one of the start-ups, Curbstand, acquiring the other, Curby. United under the Curbstand brand, they'll have a service that businesses as varied as small yoga studios and giant hospitals will want to offer their customers, Curbstand Chief Executive Serge Gojkovich said. Terms of the deal -- a mix of stock and cash -- were not disclosed.
The popularity of valet parking apps is growing fast. Apps such as Luxe and Zirx connect drivers with people willing to make some extra change parking and retrieving people's cars.
Curbstand and Curby went a different route, making apps that enhance traditional valet parking. Instead of paying in cash and waiting around for their car to show up, app users pay through their phones and receive messages that let them know when their car will be retrieved and ready.
Curbstand partnered with traditional valet stand operators, charging drivers a 10% fee. Gojkovich sought out Curby for its additional service: It developed software that larger businesses can use to track valet runners, pinpoint vehicle location and log any bumps and dings. Later versions could charge for services as car washes or oil changes.
Curbstand is available at about 300 valet stands and is only available on iPhones and iPads until at least the spring.