Mobile transportation payments provider Passport announced a Series C funding round of $43 million from Bain Capital Ventures, a growth equity firm that has also invested in quickly-scaling startups such as Jet.com, DocuSign, AvidXchange, LinkedIn, and SurveyMonkey. The round, announced last month, followed a 300 percent revenue growth over three years for the Charlotte, NC-based company.
“Having reviewed the industry, we believe Passport has emerged as the clear leader in the sector. Passport’s progressive and dynamic culture is exactly what we look for in a company,” Bain Capital Ventures Managing Director Matt Harris said in a statement. “We believe Bob and his team have the industry experience and vision necessary to lead the revolution in this space.”
Passport provides mobile solutions for parking, transit, and tolling to cities, universities, and private organizations — operationalizing urban efficiencies like cashless parking and tolling and moving parking permits to the digital realm. Their products are currently used by over 450 organizations in 5,000 locations.
While there are several companies that provide mobile parking and transportation solutions, Passport’s Chief Product Office Michael Scully says that Passport differentiates itself by putting its product development focus on its clients — the city or private organization who pays for implementation — to best serve their needs.
They do this by working closely with cities to determine how to serve them based on their particular history, regulation requirements, and needs. Scully says this often leads to a white label product, where Passport implements their basic solution under a city brand that residents recognize; Park Chicago, for example.
“One of the ways we differentiate ourselves is to get into this white label business and really focus on the city’s needs — what their specific rules are, their regulations, their rates and restrictions. That’s really where our focus has been — on the operator side, the municipality side,” says Scully.
This Series C brings Passport’s total outside funding to $60 million. This was the first round Bain Capital Ventures has participated in.
Now the team of about 100 will focus on growth — they plan to hire an additional 50 employees this year, particularly in sales, client services, and product — and expanding their reach around the world. The product is already being employed in several cities in Canada and in the UK, and Scully says they’re in development for locations in Latin America.
They’ll also expand their product roster. They’re currently developing a new cashless mobile tolling product which will be employed on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
“The goal is that [the tolling product] would be completely touchless — that you won’t have to use your phone at all but that you can get additional value, especially if its connected to your car. The idea is it would be no more complicated to interact with than a typical radio system or AC unit in a vehicle right now,” says Scully.
Lastly, the company may use the capital to explore strategic acquisitions, either to expand their technology capabilities or grow into entirely new markets.
“There’s certainly an eye towards that and an appetite for it,” says Scully. “That can be in terms of acquiring technology for some unique product capabilities, some unique smart data applications, and it can also be a way to help jumpstart us in some new markets. When we look at things like expansion into other countries, that can help give us a head start or a boost.”