ParkingPanda Brings Accessible, Community-Driven Parking to DC

February 17, 2012

11:00 am

Last summer I wrote about ParkingPanda, a mobile, real-time parking discovery tool that lets users rent out their underutilized spaces to a community of drivers. Since then, ParkingPanda has grown in Baltimore and will be launching in Washington, DC in about one month.

I checked in with co-founder Nick Miller to hear about what’s new with the company as well as some lessons learned since launching last year. ParkingPanda has big plans for its DC launch, with peer-to-peer parking spaces as well as some major parking garage partners throughout the city. They’re hoping to leverage this coverage to help people find and reserve parking for everything from a dinner in Dupont to a Caps game at the Verizon Center.

Miller and his team are using their experiences in Baltimore to inform their expansion to the DC market. According to Miller, balancing peer-to-peer rentals with the parking garages ParkingPanda works with within a city is critical because both provide different value to customers. He’s hoping that understanding this balance will enable the company to expand more efficiently in DC;the team has its sights set on Philadelphia and Boston next. However, the team understands that timing is everything when deciding when to expand.

“First and foremost we want to make sure we have a strong grasp on DC and Baltimore to ensure we are servicing our customers in the best way possible,” he said.  “It will also be determined by the organic interest from those cities.  If we see a lot of people signing up in a new market we will adjust our launch date accordingly.”

If he had the chance to start up all over again, Miller wouldn’t do anything differently.

“Are there things I wish were different? Sure, but running a startup is a learning experience and all of the little failures along the way are critical to future success. If you never failed along the way you wouldn’t know what you were doing right or wrong. I think in the long run, the business will be stronger because of the things we’ve done wrong; it has given us the opportunity to learn and optimize.”

ParkingPanda was a featured startup at our Tech Cocktail DC Winter Mixer last night; if you didn’t make it to the event, be sure to check out their site.

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Meg Rayford is a communications consultant based in Northern Virginia. She previously spent two years as the Director of Public Relations for a nonprofit startup, where she learned a lot about providing clean water for impoverished countries, even within the confines of a bootstrapped startup.

She is the editor of Tech Cocktail, and she develops media strategies for companies in Washington, DC and Virginia. You can read her most recent work in the marketing chapter of the upcoming book, “Social Innovation and Impact in Nonprofit Leadership,” which will be published in Spring 2014 by Springer Publishing. Follow her @megkrayford.

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