On-Demand Parking Startup Luxe Grabs a Product Boss From YouTube
At YouTube, Phil Farhi helped advertisers get their messages in front of video viewers. Now he’s trying to help people park their cars.
Farhi, who worked at YouTube from 2008 until last month, has joined Luxe as the on-demand parking startup’s VP of product. At YouTube, Farhi headed up the product team in charge of monetization — that is, ads — and had his biggest success working on the video site’s “TrueView” units, which give users the ability to skip ads.
Farhi says his YouTube experience doesn’t mean the parking app is going to start running banner ads. Instead, he said, he likes the challenge of working on something that seems simple to users — Uber for valets — but is quite complicated under the hood.
Until Luxe CEO Curtis Lee started talking to him, Farhi said, he didn’t “realize how interesting an information problem parking could be. It’s a great opportunity to build an amazing customer experience, as well as a business on top of that.”
This wasn’t the first time Lee and Farhi had talked. The two first met at Wharton, and then crossed paths at Google, and then again at YouTube. “He’s one of the best product people I’ve ever worked with, and I’ve worked with a lot of studs,” Lee said.
Lee’s company, which launched last year, has raised $25 million and employs 50 people. Luxe started in San Francisco and Los Angeles, and Lee says it will be in three more markets soon; he says revenue is doubling every two months. [Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated Luxe’s growth rate.]
This is from May 21, 2015, 5:15 PM PDT by Contact Peter Kafka: