‘Airbnb of car parking will make our towns and cities more sustainable’
The market for this service is massive. The global car-parking market is worth €100 billion
Garret Flower, co-founder of Dublin-based Parkpnp, describes its offering as the Airbnb of car parking.
Parkpnp users can rent out car parking spaces by the hour, day, week or month, and cash in on hitherto underutilised assets.
The idea came about as a result of Flower’s first experience driving in Dublin. “I bought my first car 2½ years ago. On my first day out in it I found myself driving up and down Ranelagh looking for a parking space. I eventually noticed a space outside a house, so I knocked on the door and asked if it was okay to park there. The women in the house said it was fine. I went back the next day with a box of chocolates and a tenner in a card to thank her. She said she should do this more often. That was the ah-ha moment for me.”
Research quickly showed him the potential of the opportunity. “In urban areas across the world there are four parking spaces for every car, yet drivers constantly complain about a lack of parking. Drivers constantly pass massive amounts of empty spaces owned by homeowners, business, hotels, local authorities and so on. In fact, up to 30 per cent of traffic is caused by drivers looking for somewhere to park.”
The idea became a reality when Flower met co-founder Daniel Paul. “He’s the technical genius behind it all,” says Flower. “He has been building apps since he was 16.”
Having gained backing from a number of investors including Enterprise Ireland, the company launched in 2015, and has now expanded into the Belgian and Dutch markets.
“Parking-space owners can use the phone app or the website,” says Flower. “They can rent it out hourly or for months if they wish. Users can open the app and pre-book parking before they leave home if they wish. We are talking to pubs, restaurants, hotels and local authorities around Ireland at the moment.
“We are also working with commercial car-park operators like Euro Car Parks, APCOA, and ParkRite. All of these parking options will be available on a single marketplace. This will make our towns and cities more sustainable.
“The market for this service is massive,” he adds. “The global car-parking market is worth €100 billion annually. You can already use Parkpnp in Belgium and the Netherlands, and we will run our first US trial shortly.
“We also plan to develop new products and services. Our next offering is ParkOffice, a parking management system for companies which will allow them to offer parking to more of their staff utilising existing space. The system will know when staff are out sick, on holidays or out of the office for other reasons and offer their space to colleagues.”
■ Garret Flower, co-founder of Dublin-based Parkpnp, outside the final judging round for this year’s awards at the RDS, Dublin on Tuesday.