February 17, 2012
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.”
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