Silicon Round-up: JustPark aims for best of both worlds with funding drive

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The London start-up, which lets people rent out their private parking spaces via its app, is raising cash through crowdfunding and from venture capitalist simultaneously.

JustPark, which counts BMW as an early investor, is launching a crowdfunding drive hoping to raise at least £1 million.

Meanwhile venture capital investor Index Ventures, which has backed the likes of Skype, Betfair and King Digital, is converting a recently made £500,000 loan into shares at the same price as the crowdfunding.

JustPark founder Anthony Eskinazi explains the benefits: “We get some of Index’s money, an experienced board member and the support of the entire Index network.

“But we can also evangelise hundreds of thousands of our customers to make sure they stay with us and they could act like an outsourced marketing team.

“They’re going to tell their friends, they’re going to promote the service wherever they can and they’re also going to make JustPark a phenomenal success. It’s a win-win all around.”

He adds of Index converting shares at the same level: “If the crowd wanted confirmation of value, that’s it.”

Eskinazi says the cash will be put towards almost doubling staff number to close to 50. JustPark has 700,000 users worldwide, according to Eskinazi.

Taxi app turf war continues

The midlands is perhaps an unlikely setting for a showdown between sparing tech giants but Birmingham is the latest battleground for taxi apps duking it out for supremacy.

Uber has this week launched in the city, while Israeli rival GetTaxi is set to launch their imminently.

GetTaxi, which works with black cabs, this week rolled out across Edinburgh, Liverpool and Manchester, as well as announcing plans to launch in Leeds, Glasgow and Birmingham soon.

GetTaxi’s boss Remo Gerber played down suggestions of a land grab in the industry, saying: “We serve a lot of business clients and a lot of them need a national transport provider and that’s part of our strategy here.”

But he added: “There’s always a certain first mover advantage.”

Uber currently covers Dublin, Manchester and Leeds.

Gerber said hundreds of drivers have signed up in each of the new cities and said business in London, where it launched in 2011, is going “very, very well”.

Another Rocket lands in London

Every week there seems to be another Rocket Internet start-up doing something in London.

For those who don’t know Rocket is a German ‘start-up factory’ which churns out tech companies.

The latest to hit the capital is Bonativo, an ‘online farmers market’ which delivers fruit and veg direct from growers.

The company, only a month old, is based in Berlin but is this week launching here.

“It’s running well in Berlin and we figured because London is such a big market for this sort of product we wanted to test it,” said founder Christian Eggert.

Online food delivery is a boom area for start-ups at the moment, with the likes of JustEat, Deliveroo, EatFirst and Feed Me Pronto all vying for attention.

On top of that, there are plenty of vegetable delivery services in the capital, such as Abel & Cole and Farmaround.

Eggert said: “There’s a lot going on in the whole food space. What we try to be very unique on is we have interesting products and tell interesting stories and we only deliver them very fresh.

“We believe everyone should be able to find out more about the origins of the food they consumer.”

Bonativo is launching in London with 450 products from 30 suppliers.

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February 14, 2015 |
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