May 16, 2012
When we last covered ParkMe, they were known as Parking in Motion. While the app still uses technology to help you find parking spaces, this young startup has made quite a few changes so they can better capitalize on their potential:
“The end game is to not think about parking.”
And they have a lot of potential. Not only are they Series A funded, they are about to close another round in the coming weeks. Some of their funding is from Fontialis Ventures, which was founded by Bill Ford – as in Ford Motor Company – who wants to get ParkMe’s technology into cars. ParkMe is also working on licensing deals, such as with the GPS company TomTom.
Founded by Sam Friedman and Alex Israel, both of whom were sick of trying to find parking spots – and paying parking tickets – they originally created a database of parking information based on garage capacity. Now they are acquiring real-time data on both garage and on-street parking so ParkMe can direct people where to go.
They tested out the concept during SXSW this year with a risky but cool stunt: The ParkMe team put fake orange boots (with a hashtag) on cars parked near the convention center. One of the cars they booted was the van of a local news station. The news team decided to test ParkMe for a full day and loved how it worked so much they did a 5 minute news piece on the app.
While grabbing capacity data from parking garages is not that hard, setting up their on-street live feed map that shows you where to park on-street was a little trickier. “Other companies install sensors in ground, and it costs a lot to maintain that,” said Kevin Blomberg, ParkMe’s marketing and PR director. “We derive data from smart meters and plug that into an algorithm, which refreshes on the app every 5 minutes. Austin has been formally testing this for a month, and so far it is going really well there.”
One of the best features is the ability to set the app to your own preferences – do you want to park closer or cheaper?
While consumers are an obvious target market, cities are the other big market – and ParkMe is providing the app to them at no cost. “We have a web widget that local tourism sites, concert venues, etc. can embed on their site. They take a snapshot of our app based on their location and embed that map onto their website – making it easy for the concert goer, for example, to find parking.”
Give the ParkMe app a try and let us know how easy it is to find parking in notoriously difficult neighborhoods.
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