Winner Spotlight: Inside PParke’s Plan to Reduce Parking Headaches with Data
The average time to find and secure a parking space in Bangalore, India, is 26 minutes. Pparke wants to ease the process for drivers, as well as to bring data into the management side of parking to improve efficiencies.
The Indian startup won the transportation and cities category at the Bangalore Challenge Cup. Cofounder Shampa Ganguly, who pitched during the competition, explained the genesis and direction of her company.
In a nutshell, what does Pparke do?
Pparke is basically a smart parking app that helps commuters to find a parking spot, basically navigate to the parking spot and reserve parking spots.
Parking apps represent a very crowded market, especially in the West. What is the differentiator for Pparke?
Our solution is not just an app. Of course it is an app for consumers, but the second part is our parking data and analytics, which is an algorithm to do a lot of things with respect to monetizations of parking data. We work with parking owners to help them with their revenue management and manage the parking dynamics, which mostly consists of supply and demand of the spaces. We have something very interesting called demand-based parking wherein the parking price could be substantially lower or higher based on the traffic. That is something that’s our main [differentiator]—the parking data and analytics.
What made you want to pursue a parking solution? Did it stem out of a personal pain point about the parking situation in Bangalore?
Yes, I did have a personal pain point. It’s horrible here. Every Saturday if I tell (my husband and business partner) to take me to one of the busiest streets in Bangalore, he says “Oh, no—I can’t go there because I’ll never find a parking spot and I’ll end up circling around the city block.” So he deprived me of shopping, which is very cruel.
I thought about it when I was studying in Bangalore. I said, let’s do something because it’s a problem I’m sure every person is facing on a day-to-day basis. It’s how the entire concept came up.
Explain the revenue side of the house and how you make money off of this.
We are basically trying to become an app partner with several smart-city collaborators. That will basically be a licensing model, an annual, licensing-based fee. And for further monetizations, we’re also partnering with retailers who push advertisements through our platform, and that basically makes us an in-app advertising platform, which is the second form of revenue for us. So subscription with the B2B, with the smart-city collaborators, that’s one, and the advertising model is two.
When you expand beyond Bangalore and then beyond India, as you aspire to do, will you modify the product?
Not exactly. In India we’re trying expand to Mumbai and Delhi very soon. We don’t see any changes required to the core of it but there’s always some customizations required to the back end. Demographic needs will be a little different.
What were you both doing prior to forming this startup?
We are both IT professionals. We worked for more than 10 years—him, for 20 years, and me for closer to 10. I have predominantly worked in the automobile industry; Mercedes Benz was my last company. He mostly comes from the semiconductors industry. He’s hardware, and I’m software. So we can understand both hardware and software, which is a good thing.
What did you get out of pitching at Challenge Cup in Bangalore?
It was fantastic. We actually got a customer today. Someone was going to help us scale our product, and I think we made a lot of friends.
And we learned how to do a one-minute pitch. We’ve done a five-minute pitch before but the one-minute is crazy.
Your prize for winning is to head to D.C. in May. What are the big milestones you want to hit between now and then?