Parklife: Meet the Startup Hoping to Revolutionise Car Parking in Ireland
Dublin-based start-up Parkpnp hopes to provide a solution to Ireland’s parking problems as it aims to be the Airbnb of driveways.
“Please help me find a parking space” is the utterance of motorists in towns and cities across Ireland, as streets become ever more congested and parking spots more elusive. Now a Dublin start-up is aiming to offer a solution to this conundrum by matching spare or under-used parking
capacity with drivers desperate for a parking spot. This new online parking marketplace could be loosely defined as the Airbnb for parking.
The company, Parkpnp, was officially launched in January 2017. The “pnp” stands for people and places. Its goal is to list, advertise and generate income from unused or under-utilised parking spaces while saving drivers the headache of finding a decent spot with average savings of 50%.
Council Journal caught up with one of the founders of Parkpnp, Garet Flower – who has also spent the last five years building Krüst Bakery, distributing speciality baked goods nationwide and exporting to the UK and Canada – to find out more about the company and its plans to revolutionise parking in Ireland.
What exactly is ‘Parkpnp’ and how does it work?
Parkpnp allows motorists to find, book and pay for the cheapest parking space near them. Parkpnp’s online marketplace allows home-owners, businesses, hotels and car parks to rent their underused spaces to our community of drivers looking for parking, resulting in much appreciated extra income for the space-owners and massive savings of time and money for drivers.
Where did the idea come from?
I had just started driving a few years ago and was driving around Ranelagh. I couldn’t believe how hard it was to find a parking space. Eventually I ended up pulling up in someone’s driveway, ringing the doorbell and offering them €5 to leave the car there for the day. At the moment I decided there needed to be an app to make parking easier and Parkpnp was born.
What positive outcomes do you expect from the use of ‘Parkpnp’?
Smart use of space is one of the key questions of our generation. In order to build the cities of the future we need to maximise our use of space. Currently we have a lack of space for public transport routes and cycling facilities but we have massive amounts of on-street parking spaces. Meanwhile, massive amounts of private off-street parking facilities are half empty. There will always be a need for different types of parking but we’re committed to working with all stakeholders to ensure that space designated for parking is being used efficiently and effectively, allowing cities to reclaim the space they need to flourish.
How popular has the platform proved since its launch in January?
We’re essentially doubling users and revenue every two months. We’ve gone from a couple of hundred visitors a week to almost 10,000 a month. Areas like Rathmines, Ranelagh and Clanbrassil Street have waiting lists for parking spaces. The demand is growing way quicker than we could have imagined.
The feedback we’ve had so far has been immense. People are delighted that someone
has finally decided to solve a problem that’s caused so many headaches for many.
How big is the Parkpnp team at present?
We have a team of 15 employees led by Daniel Paul and I. I successfully founded Krust Bakery, a wholesale, distribution and retail company, based on George’s street, before turning my attention to the parking problem. While Paul, a self-taught coder, setup his first business StudyNotes.ie at 16 years of age, now 23 he is one of Ireland’s most respected programmers. Daniel and I are supported by an experienced team including parking veteran Donal O’Hagan, who has spent 25 years in the parking industry and Daithí de Buitléir, who has extensive marketing experience with big name brands like Heineken and Unilever.
What were the biggest challenges you faced in getting Parkpnp off the ground?
As we are a two sided marketplace, our initial challenge was to get listings onto our platform to match the demand out there at present in the market. We want people to be able to go onto the platform and find their perfect parking space which was difficult at the beginning.
What advice would you offer to budding entrepreneurs and startups?
Think like a customer, and build a relevant product focusing on the real needs. Focus on
adding value and constantly innovate.
What are the plans for the future of the project, both short and long term? Are there plans afoot to expand beyond Ireland?
If we can continue to execute on our plan we expect to continue growth and capitalise on the massive opportunity present in the European parking market today, and over the coming years. We are a team of 15 FTE currently and we have plans to grow to 25 in Q4 after launching into our next market. We have the global ambition to solve this global problem.
To find out more about Parkpnp and the services the offer, please check out their website here.