Parking in the city may just be the most frustrating part of your day. Circling the block as many times as you need to, checking the signs all around you to make sure it is legal, and finally making sure there are no fire hydrants around are all a part of the routine of driving in the city. This is why you need Parkarr. Created out of the frustration that every NYC driver feels, this app alerts you when a parking spot opens up. All you have to do is search a location and request a spot and you will be informed if another user has left the space.
AlleyWatch spoke with cofounder Robyn Gerber about the company and how the company plans to grow.
Tell us about the product or service.
Parkarr is a mobile app that connects drivers looking for street-parking with those leaving their spots. We also have all the street-sign information for all five boroughs of New York City.
How is it different?
Parkarr solves three problems that drivers who park on the street face on a daily basis:
- Finding a parking spot
- Determining if they are allowed to park on a street
- Avoiding parking tickets
Parkarr is the first app to offer all of these services in a bundle, immensely improving the New York City street-parking experience. Other apps focus on garage parking or only provide one of these services.
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
There is $100B spent in the parking industry per year worldwide (1/3 street-parking, 2/3 off street-parking), 2 million parking spots in New York City and 1 million parking spots across San Francisco, Boston and the top 13 college parking campuses.
What is the business model?
We offer a subscription Service of $4.99/month compared to $500/month on average for a New York City Parking garage. We have ads for location-based services (Exxon, Shell, Starbucks) and partnerships with cities and colleges (white-label program).
What inspired the business?
My dad parks every night in midtown Manhattan and would put a piece of paper on his car with a smiley face if he was leaving the next morning and a frowning face if was not departing and drivers in the neighborhood would actually look out for his car. My Tech Co-Founder, Michael Kaminowitz, and I created the Parkarr App to help drivers save time and gas by increasing the efficiency of street-parking.
Ramp up Facebook advertising (currently a $1 customer acquisition cost), billboards near prime traffic areas (midtown tunnel, GW Bridge, 59th St Bridge), ads on taxis and buses, 1010 WINS radio advertisements, news coverage.
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
We have a few milestones we are looking at.
- Roll out the automated reminders to move your car to avoid expensive parking tickets
- Expand on our artificial intelligence to decrease dependencies on user actions (the app will know when you are leaving and looking for a parking spot)
- Grow our user base to 100,000 drivers in New York City
- Raise our Series A round of funding
- Partner with Exonn, Starbucks, etc. to offer coupons to Parkarr users
What is the one piece of startup advice that you never got?
It’s a marathon not a sprint, and it’s important to always learn from your existing user base.
If you could be put in touch with anyone in the New York startup community who would it be and why?
Alex Blumberg, CEO and Co Founder of Gimlet Media. I listened to Alex’s Startup Podcast when I was just launching Parkarr and I could relate to all of the trials and tribulations he was experiencing. I would love to treat him to coffee to thank him for his inspiring words.
Why did you launch in New York?
New York City is the largest market in terms of on street-parking and we live here!
Where is your favorite fall destination in the city?
Restaurants with fireplaces. To name a few; Salinas, Alta and The Place.