October 8, 2012
Like many startups, ParkMe (formerly Parking In Motion) is attempting to solve a nearly universal problem – in this case, helping drivers who are unable to find a parking spot in urban areas. But unlike many startups, ParkMe isn’t trying to tackle the whole market at once, instead approaching it piece by piece.
In an effort to provide data on parking availability and pricing to consumers via its free app for iPhone and the web, ParkMe is working with cities, universities, and hospitals to bring these areas’ parking data online.
“It’s our belief that drivers in major urban centers deserve dynamic, on-demand parking information much like they receive real-time traffic reports,” ParkMe PR and marketing director Kevin Blomberg told me.
Founded in 2009 in Santa Monica, California, by Sam Friedman (CEO) and Alex Israel (COO), ParkMe was set up to ease its founders’ frustrations with finding local parking. The company now provides comprehensive street-level parking data on more than 500 cities (that’s more than double what they had this time last year) in 19 countries. But these data go beyond simple geolocation of parking lots.
Users can check the ParkMe app to find out what types of payment a parking garage accepts and even whether a particular location offers amenities such as electric vehicle charging. The company also partners with reservation platforms to allow drivers to pre-pay for parking spots before leaving the house.
“We came to the conclusion that the navigation experience was incomplete and demanded a paradigm shift,” Blomberg said. “Being routed to the front door of a restaurant or event venue is not enough.”
As Friedman first told us last December, between 30 and 40 percent of urban vehicle congestion is due to drivers circling the block looking for a parking spot. Even the low end of that range represents a huge market – one that ParkMe continues to tackle, one parking spot at a time.
ParkeMe was a showcased startup at our Tech Cocktail Los Angeles mixer in August.
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