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More money for an app that fights parking tickets for you

| August 7, 2014

Fixed, a mobile app that fights parking tickets for drivers, found itself in an enviable position for a startup last month: turning down money from investors. It raised $1.2 million in seed funding from backers that included Merus Capital, Y Combinator, and angel investors such as Scott Banister and Mark Randolph, among others. The company plans to use the funds to expand its headquarters in San Francisco, as well as to redouble its marketing push and hire more staff.

"Please don't give me a ticket. I'm death. I can't move. I'll be towed away this weekend. Thanks"

The Fixed app means never having to say you’re sorry. From Boltron.

The startup needs the extra bodies to meet increasing demand for its services, which require motorists to use an iOS device to photograph the ticket they received. The company’s so-called on-street “ticket heroes,” who make up more than half of Fixed’s almost two dozen employees, then check the ticket for common mistakes, such as mandatory line items left blank by enforcement officials. Afterwards, Fixed drafts a customized letter challenging the citation and faxes it to the city.

Make that mailed to the city. According to co-founder David Hegarty, who established Fixed after receiving multiple tickets he believed were issued in error, the city recently sent the company a short email, telling it to stop faxing letters that contested citations.

“No reason given,” says Hegarty. “After we politely pointed out that the California Vehicle Code allowed for the submission of contests via fax, they shut off the fax machine.”

Whether or not the city actually turned off its fax machine simply to avoid correspondence from Fixed, it doesn’t appear to be gunning for the company in the same way it has for other parking-related startups, such as MonkeyParking and Sweetch, which San Francisco threatened with lawsuits if the businesses didn’t cease their operations.

With no real resistance from the city, Fixed appears poised for success. Since opening its waitlist to the entire San Francisco area, 35,000 users have signed up. For every ticket that Fixed has waived for those users, the company asks 25% of the fee that the driver would otherwise have had to pay. When it fails, Fixed pays the ticket with a credit card uploaded by the user.

Hegarty says the company processes about 300 tickets per week, which could begin to put a dent in the city’s parking-ticket revenue if the startup continues to enjoy success. In the fiscal year 2011-2012, San Francisco earned in excess of $83 million in parking-ticket revenue.

It’s those kind of numbers that incense Hegarty. “I really think it’s a racket by the city,” he told the press last month. “For most people, it’s really hard to fight [a big company]… That’s a perfect problem to get solved by software.”

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Category: Parking

About the Author ()

Cielo Lutino is a freelance writer and editor based in Brooklyn, NY. She has written for such publications as the L Magazine and Portland Monthly, and her literary nonfiction has appeared in journals such as the Los Angeles Review and Cold Mountain Review.

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