Co-founder Manohar Kamath shares his vision for Park.IT.
Give us the 140-character elevator pitch.
When you drive into a busy city like San Francisco, the problem is where to park, as the parking occupancy is often over 95%. Second question, can I park here and will I get a ticket? Park.it creates happy drivers driving in cities like San Francisco, by helping them avoid parking tickets or tow away charges along with parking (street and garages) choices at their fingertips.
What civic problem does it solve?
People on average spend 20-30min of their time searching for parking. This adds to the city traffic congestion leading to unhappy drivers. Park. it Lite App help drivers find on and off street parking, obey city parking laws and reduce pollution from traffic congestion. Overtime with large user base, Park. it will have collected enough user data/behaviors to develop parking analytics which can help city government and local businesses to provide incentives for people to make San Francisco their favorite destination.
What’s the story behind starting park.it?
Myself (Manohar Kamath) and Calvin Liu are the founders of www.Park.it . The company was founded in the year 2010. We worked together in Semiconductor and EDA industry. I (Manohar Kamath) live with my family in Fremont and visit San Francisco often for business and pleasure. Every time I faced the problem of finding parking, may it be in the financial district, North beach, Fisherman’s wharf, AT&T Park, theatre areas etc. Invariably ended up parking in garages (which can be expensive) due to the fear of getting a parking ticket or being towed away not knowing the parking rules. Calvin on the other hand, has been living in San Francisco downtown for over 10 years and faces the challenge of having to remember to move his car for street cleaning and has gotten his car towed away due to parking sign changes. We also have stories from friends and family who are new to the city and have racked up hundreds of $$ of parking tickets. All of this, set us on the quest of solving this parking problem in metro cities.
We launched the first Beta version of the App (both on Android and iOS) in Dec 2011. This helped us in user validation. We started out with a subscription model (monthly and/or yearly) but soon found, people didn’t like to create accounts and provide credit card info. We also received feedback from users about usability. Inspite of these issues, we saw large number of users downloading and continuing to use it till today.
For the last several months we worked on fixing usability issues, removed the need for users to create accounts and provide credit card info. Beginning 2013, Park.it Lite was released.
What are its key features?
Find parking either around where you are at or near your driving destination in the following manner,
Specify a parking duration (30min to 3 days)
Enter your driving destination address (Type or Speak) OR select current location. Currently Speak (Voice to text) is only supported for the Android platform.
Choose to display only what is desired: No parking areas, Street parking and Garage parking
In-phone notification in case the specified parking duration is exceeded or instant alerts like active tow away, street sweeping, or incline parking. This saves you getting parking tickets from PEO (Parking Enforcement officer).
For metered street parking or parking garages, the cost per hour is shown.
If SFPark metered spaces with sensors are available, the number of open spaces are displayed on real time basis.
Displays (Red hat Pin) your parked spot in case you have forgotten.
What are the costs, pricing plans?
Park. it Lite (Free version) with advertising currently available on Google Play and App Store.
Park. it Premium (paid version) with no advertising and special features will be made available in the future.
How can those interested connect with you?