Kakao have announced their strategic acquisition of Parking Square the developer and operator of 'Park Here', an app that allows searching and reservation of parking spots. The app allows its users to quickly search for vacant parking lots nearby and reserve the vacancy at a discounted rate. The app is appealing to both parking spot users and parking lot operators as it provides parkers a convenient way to access a parking spot at a discounted rate whilst for operators it provides a way of increasing revenue by utilizing an otherwise vacant parking spot.
The acquisition total has not been disclosed but market capitalization is estimated to be between US$8.6m to US$17m (KRW10b to KRW20b). Parking Square will become a subsidiary of Naver and operations will continue to run independently.
Back in May last year, Naver also acquired 'Loc N All' the operator of navigation service 'Kimgisa'. Recently Naver has released a navigation service under the name 'Kakao Navi' which also provides a private driver and taxi options. The acquisition of Paring Square may mean 'Park Here' is destined for the same platform to offer a mash up of all transport related services.
Since debuting Park Here version 1 in January 2014, Parking Square now offers over 5,000 parking spots provided in over 500 places in the Seoul area. The app has been downloaded more than 300,000 times with more than 150,000 regular users.
As of April last year, Park Here commenced using Kakao's Daum Map to display information for over 3,500 parking sports in Seoul in over 280 parking operations.
Parking Square has benefited from investors that include The Ventures, Smilegate Investment, Mirae Asset Investments and KTB Networks.