Funding Ballparc: ParkIT Ventures jumpstarts alongside Bullpen Ventures
By Milt Capps updated 7:49 a.m. 10 June
BALLPARC LLC, the Nashville startup offering software for small parking businesses, has raised $275,000 and may be able to scale-up entirely by bootstrapping, said Taylor Chapman, its co-founder and president.
The new venture is majority-owned by Chapman Brothers LLC, led by Taylor, 22, and Ryan Chapman, 28, siblings with family ties to the parking industry, and new investors who have e-transaction chops.
The older Chapman brother is also co-owner and president of Premier Parking, a 12-year-old company majority-owned by real-estate developer Tony Giarratana, the president confirmed.
Ballparc has raised $275K to date, the Ballparc president told VNC. That total has come in undisclosed amounts from the founders, from very recently formed ParkIT Ventures; and, from two-year-old Bullpen Ventures, the seed- and early-stage investment firm. Chapman said Bullpen's commitment is $25K in equity capital and $50K in convertible debt. Bullpen's portfolio also includes recently launched Populr, a spinout from CentreSource.
Ballparc's cloud-based, mobile-enabled tech solutions enable small parking operators to execute parking-fee transactions, monitor available parking inventory and enforce ticketing for over-time parkers.
With about 8,000 businesses out there that fit its criteria, marketing targets are plentiful, but fragmented, and the sector is competitive, said Chapman. Ballparc aims to win by offering competitive hardware and services packages, and by providing robust dashboard-type data to help operators management their inventory and some enforcement functions. The owners have also added 26-year-old Sean Bowman to handle initial development of their violations and enforcement services.
The young company's potential competitors for event-parking customers include companies with more expensive offerings, including Amano McGann (a unit of the US subsidiary of Japan-based Amano), Connecticut-based ZipPark and Charlotte-based Passport Parking, said Chapman.
Ballparc customers pay a startup fee and get a dedicated iPhone and printer below Ballparc's cost. Ballparc then charges transaction fees for wireless service and credit-card processing, said Chapman. It is still in the process of selecting its strategic partners to support such funtions, he said.
Ballparc is ParkIT's debut investment, though a second bet may soon follow, ParkIT co-founder Michael Thompson told VNC. Thompson and co-founder Ted Sanft have extensive experience in IT and transaction-processing sectors.
The ParkIT Angels are in talks with "a true startup" in the healthcare sector, he said when asked about other target sectors. (The company's "ParkIT" name was merely a play on their desire to "park" their shares of proceeds from the 2012 sale of Fleet One, the transaction processing company, to WEX Inc. Thompson learned of Ballparc while the startup was in the accelerator program at the Nashville Entrepreneur Center, and was subsequently introduced to Bullpen, he said.)
The company has no exit scenario in-place and is not averse to running longer-term a business that is cash-flowing well and generates recurring revenue, said Chapman and Thompson in separate VNC interviews.
The Ballparc board of directors includes Taylor and Ryan Chapman; ParkIT's Thompson; Todd Albert, general manager, Creative Parking Concepts; and, Landon Gibbs, a Bullpen co-founder and director of healthcare initiatives for Clayton Associates. Bullpen Ventures is closely allied with Clayton Associates and its affiliate Triple Play Ventures, as well as with the Entrepreneur Center. No Ballparc chairperson has yet been designated, said Chapman.
Its standing advisory relationships include attorneys Sherrard & Roe and it banks with CapStar, said Chapman, who noted that he currently handles the startup's books, personally. The company is contracting for support from DevDigital, and the Ballparc logo was designed by Luke Flener, a designer who does business as Prolific, he said.
The father of the Ballparc's entrepreneurs, Bob Chapman, is a Premier Parking VP-operations, based in Houston. The senior Chapman earlier worked 15 years in Nashville with Central Parking, according to his Linkedin. VNC