Parking-Technology Startup Streetline Backed by Bill Ford’s Firm

Streetline Inc., the maker of technology that helps reduce traffic congestion, attracted $15 million in funding from an investor group that includes a firm co-founded by Ford Motor Co. (F) Chairman Bill Ford.

Ford’s Fontinalis Partners LLC led the investment, along with RockPort Capital Partners, San Francisco-based Streetline said today in a statement. Existing investor Sutter Hill Ventures also contributed to the funding round.

Streetline uses sensors on the ground to send information to cities, parking garages and airports about how many vehicles are circling the area. Officials can then raise parking rates in congested places, helping prices match demand. Drivers also can use Streetline’s smartphone application to find empty parking spots nearby or lower rates.

“Parking is a $25 billion industry in the United States alone and its current transition from coin operated meters to digital display meters is the first significant change in technology the industry has experienced,” Victor Westerlind, a general partner at RockPort, said in the statement. “Streetline brings parking all the way into the information age by providing the complete information on which to base decisions.”

The company plans to use the capital to build more products and expand to more cities, including some overseas. Its technology is used in neighborhoods in California, Maryland, New York, Texas, Utah and Washington, D.C.

Fontinalis, which isn’t affiliated with Ford Motor, seeks investments that apply technology to the transportation industry. Bill Ford, the great-grandson of automobile pioneer Henry Ford, helped start the Detroit-based investment firm in January 2010. He was CEO at Ford Motor until 2006, when Boeing Co. executive Alan Mulally took the reins.

To contact the reporter on this story: Joseph Galante in San Francisco at jgalante3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tom Giles at tgiles5@bloomberg.net

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