If you drive a gas consuming vehicle, you’ve definitely been feeling the rising prices of gas over the last couple of years. The average US regular gas price has risen more than 48% since late 2008, from below $1.70 in November 2008 to the current rate of $3.50 in August 2014 (according to GasBuddy’s Historical Price Charts). While many still drive cars, others have found an alternative solution in personal transportation in two wheeled vehicles. Whether you’re riding on a Kawasaki Ninja motorcycle or a Vespa scooter, you’re definitely saving more money on gas than your 4 wheeled friends. Some ride motorbikes just to show off, but others like owners of the Yamaha’s Vino 125 scooter who get about 120 m.p.g. are all about the gas savings! How’s that for economical? But riding a motorcycle or scooter comes with its own parking hardships. Ticketing and towing affects even the smallest of motored vehicles. We’ve introduced you to Chicago startup CurbNinja in a previous article , but today we’re sharing some deeper questions.
Tech Cocktail: Who are the founders of CurbNinja?
CurbNinja: Tim Hines (@tnhines), Cheif Marketing Ninja & Fred Lebed, Chief Operations Ninja. We are both avid urban motorcyclists with experience in entrepreneurship and technology and love to help out the community. We know what we’re talking about!
Tech Cocktail: What is CurbNinja?
CurbNinja: A simple mobile app that combines crowdsourcing and collective action to help motorcycle and scooter enthusiasts find and share vetted and safe parking on the streets in urban centers. We simplify the parking experience for urban motorbikers.
Tech Cocktail: What problem does CurbNinja try and solve?
CurbNinja: Currently, over 22 million motorbikers in America are faced with the problem of finding parking when riding in urban areas. Motorbikers are limited to street parking because access to valet and parking garages is restricted, which leaves each two-wheeled machine vulnerable to the perils of the unknown – costly tickets, predatory tow trucks and damage from un-aware motorists. These risks are enough to keep even die-hard riders from exploring the city. However, some riders have discovered safe and reliable street parking all over the city and are invited to band together to share their failsafe secret parking knowledge with a greater community.
Tech Cocktail: Why did you both start CurbNinja?
CurbNinja: We started because both founders experienced this problem first hand, especially in Chicago where the city is not motorcycle friendly. We began plotting spots in Google maps one summer then decided to take that to app form to share awesome parking spots with the motorbike community.
Tech Cocktail: How did you get CurbNinja off the ground?
CurbNinja: Tim & Fred boot-strapped funds to get the MVP app built and promote in Chicago & San Francisco. Currently we’re pre-revenue but are going to launch our revenue model this year.
Tech Cocktail: How did you meet your co-founder(s)?
CurbNinja: Tim & Fred both attended the University of Illinois where they stayed in contact as close friends and decided to launch CurbNinja together as they are both passionate about motorcycles.
Tech Cocktail: What tips do you offer to fellow entrepreneurs?
CurbNinja: Really dig into your market to determine potential. Use the lean startup methods to find out what your customers and users are willing to pay for and what they need. Once you think you have a good handle on the concept, build! Build quick and fail faster. Iteration is key to any technology startup and will keep you alive longer.
Tech Cocktail: What lessons did you learn from the process of growing CurbNinja?
CurbNinja: Hire development talent that is close by. Our first developer was in New York, which made it difficult to convey deliverables which slowed the project down.
Tech Cocktail: What’s your favorite part of your work?
CurbNinja: Being involved in the community and getting feedback from our users. We target a unique group of people whom are very passionate about their lifestyle. Promoting the brand is our personal passion.
Tech Cocktail: How did you end up in CurbNinja and what’s it like to run your startup?
Hines: One day an idea pops in your head. Sometimes its just that easy. I have always been interested in the startup world and when I came up with a solution I ran with it. Its fun to work long days and late nights. I enjoy every moment working on my company, because it is my baby and I know that we are genuinely helping people.
Tech Cocktail: What future trends should we look for with regard to the parking industry?
CurbNinja: The parking industry is very fragmented, mostly for cars. I would expect municipalities to be doing more at the city level to improve parking across the board. Currently motorbikes are vastly overlooked and we hope to bring that to the attention of city planners across the country.
Tech Cocktail: Who are three competitors and how does CurbNinja differ from them?
We build our inventory via crowd sourcing and offer a better user experience.
Recent CurbNinja tweet:
— CurbNinja (@CurbNinja) August 4, 2014
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