Book parking space on your mobile phone before heading out
New Delhi: Crowded cities, vehicles sprouting like rabbits and no place to park: this commonplace is being turned into a business opportunity by a number of start-ups.
They are providing end-to-end parking solutions where commuters—both four-wheelers and two wheelers—can book parking spaces before heading out through mobile apps and websites, pay online and get to park without hassles.
These start-ups are working in areas of parking infrastructure, parking solutions and parking management that help users save time, fuel and energy by paying a small convenience fee. The move is not only helping reduce urban traffic congestion but also easing operations at the parking lots.
A senior government official says, “The emergence of these smart parking solution companies is giving a big respite. The move is gaining so much attention and popularity that urban development and transport ministries are also suggesting cities to adopt these app-based solutions.” He adds that a lot of cities under the smart city challenge are either eyeing or adopting smart parking solutions.
It’s a huge untapped market, says Rasik Pansare, co-founder, Get my Parking, a two-year-old ‘smart parking’ start-up which makes around 60,000 transactions per day by digitizing over 300 parking spaces in the Delhi-NCR region. He adds that smart parking is not restricted to metropolitan cities.
“Several tier-I and tier-II cities like Chandigarh, Bhopal, Indore and Lucknow are looking forward to implementing these smart solutions. In fact now civic authorities are coming forward to adopt these smart parking solutions,” says Pansare.
The company recently secured $3 million in a series-A funding where investors included IAN Fund, BEENEXT and Indian Angel Network and plans to expand operations in India as well as other countries. The company is in talks to undertake a project in Taiwan and to expand its operations in Bengaluru. It has mapped 22 cities for parking and plans to make it 50 by this year end.
Interestingly, the majority of these start-ups are working in Delhi-NCR and Bengaluru.
“People in this IT city are young professionals from sectors like IT, banking and finance which make its demographically very favourable,” says T.N. Pratap, co-founder of ParkZebra, a start-up founded in 2015 with technology centres in Canada and India which launched its operations in Bengaluru recently.
The company’s operations will be fully functional by December after which the company plans to target Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad and tier-I cities like Pune and Ahmedabad.
Currently, ParkZebra partners with several malls, hospitals and some public places and has an inventory of 10,000 parking spots in Bengaluru and plans to reach a target of 10,000 transactions per day by December. Pratap says the market for parking is huge—be it equipment, technology or management.
Dhananjay Rathore, co-founder of Gurgaon-based start-up Parkwheels agrees. “At present we provide two kinds of technology solutions—one for underground parking which includes RFID system and the second for surface or on-street parking which is camera based,” says Rathore.
RFID (radio frequency identification) is a technology where objects are tracked using electromagnetic waves. Under this system a tag is pasted on a vehicle to automatically identify them.
The start-up is working at 33 parking spots in Delhi-NCR and its clients include businesses such as DLF, Royal Bank of Scotlant and Airtel. The company is in advance talks with with Brookefield and Vatika Group to manage their parking spaces too.
Rathore explains the company strategy. “While we are working with several malls, office spaces for parking solutions and management, we are also eyeing real estate businesses which have huge potential.” The company has just finished its pilot for the real estate company Lodha Group in Mumbai.