Business idea created by Ryan Pijai
Parking is a serious problem in major cities.
Many startups are trying to solve the problem, but they are all doing it from the wrong angle. In their solutions, they try to direct users to SINGLE parking spots, and if something fails they force users to have to start all over again. This approach is counterintuitive to the parking process.
When you go about looking for parking, it isn’t a one-time search. You have a parking strategy: first, I’ll look here; if that fails, I’ll go over there; now maybe I’ll try a side street over here; then maybe I’ll circle back to the first spot and try waiting a few more minutes.
Fiddling with an app while you are driving your car after your first choice for parking fails is dangerous. Deciding on the fly which streets to turn onto when cars are all trying to past you is stressful.
Imagine if you had an app that made all of the navigation decisions for you.
The app gives you an optimal driving route strategy to maximize your chances of finding parking in the shortest amount of time. It takes into account location, time of day, and even other cars. All you have to do is follow the navigation route it gives you, wait when it tells you to wait, and stop where it tells you to check if there is parking available. The finding parking process would be as simple as following GPS directions.
Parking is a Legacy System:
There are many different types of parking spots: public, private, metered, garages, side-streets, covered, open, ones with pay stations, ones operated by human beings.
Because of the diversity of pre-existing types of parking spots, it is not possible to re-engineer the entire system from scratch. Creating new devices/sensors to be installed in parking lots might be nice and could work for a few particular locations, but scaling that up quickly to be adopted everywhere is very difficult. Meanwhile, early users would suffer severely from being locked out of the large majority of parking solutions that didn’t have those upgrades.
The company I want to create would not require any new installations to be made on pre-existing parking spaces. The app would work within any parking ecosystem.
Too many parking apps are designed from a feature perspective rather than a user perspective. Many do not even take into account that people are often in the middle of driving when they need to use a parking app.
Our goal is to make an app that is safe to use in your car and is designed to guide you in a stress-free way throughout the entire parking finding process.
You tell us where you ultimately need to go. We generate an optimized route for you to follow with checkpoints to stop at and check for parking. We even give you an estimated time for how long the entire process should take!
Real-Time Route Enhancements:
Parking takes place in a very dynamic environment: sometimes street cleaners or accidents are blocking streets; sometimes a convention is in town; sometimes a sports game is letting out.
Rather than only relying on static algorithms for generating parking finding routes, we plan on taking into account real-time data from our users. Anyone using the app automatically contributes information about how they found parking (similar to the way the driving directions app Waze works). Users can manually specify accidents or problems at parking sites or they can simply have the app on and we will know from their driving behaviors that there are problems with particular parking spots.
How will the business make money?
Once we have enough users on the platform, there are many options for generating revenue. Here are a couple:
User Subscriptions: Even a monthly subscription fee as little as $1 per month would bring in a significant amount of revenue. There are over 200 million licensed drivers in the US. 10% of that market at $1 per user per month would bring in an annual revenue in excess of $240M.
Monetizing Data: There is a lot we can do with data on the parking patterns of our users. That data, as well as insights about it, could be sold to city transportation departments, private businesses, and even other startups that may want to make use of the data to improve their own service offerings.
Technical: Implementing a parking finding route generator that can find a great route for any location at any time of day is a tough technical challenge, but a solvable one.
Cold Start: Although we plan on using our own users’ driving patterns to help generate better parking finding routes, we need to have baseline solutions in place for generating routes before we have any user data. We are defining our routes based on public parking locations to start, and then gradually growing from there.
Design: We want to continuously out-design all other companies in this traditionally stodgy space. Our mission is to remove all of the stress and danger associated with driving around looking for parking. Can we make it fun? Can we gamify it? If there’s a way to do it, our company will find it and we will make sure we are the best in the world at executing on it.