From suburban shopping centres to footy matches, finding a convenient parking spot has been a perennial headache for Australian motorists, but that’s all about to change according to the co-founder of a startup shortlisted for the 2015 StartupSmart Awards.
Michael Nuciforo is the co-founder of Parkhound, an online marketplace that allows property owners to raise a little extra cash by leasing unused parking spaces, while making it more convenient for motorists to find somewhere to park.
“We started Parkhound 15 months ago, and the idea came while going to the footy at the MCG one Friday night. We were driving around because most of the nearby car parks were full and a lot of the nearby side streets had restrictions. And yet, a lot of the nearby houses had empty driveways, and we thought ‘wouldn’t it be great if we could just knock on someone’s door, pay them $5 and borrow their driveway’,” Nuciforo says.
“From our research, we found that parking is a real problem in Australia. There’s a lack of information and high prices, and that leads to a lot of stress and anxiety. So we’re tackling the problem by bringing the parking industry online – both private parking spaces in the driveways of people’s shops and businesses, and commercial car parks.”
Aside from state capital CBDs, Parkhound also lists spaces in suburban and regional areas across Australia.
“What we’ve found is there’s a demand for more parking in most places. You have commuters at suburban train stations, where the car parks fill quickly. Likewise, near airports, some people run a personal shuttle service where they offer a parking space and a lift to the airport. And then there’s tradesmen who need to find off-street parking because they’re doing a job for a week.”
Along with listing private and commercial car park spaces, Parkhound has also added a new feature mapping street parking spaces in the Melbourne CBD.
“We just launch a world’s first that’s like a Street View for parking, covering the Melbourne CBD. It shows you where there’s parking spaces, disabled spaces, two-hour spaces, and what restrictions there are. It also says whether they’re angled or parallel parking, what the price of the meter is, and allows you to pay for the meter. It’s an awesome service, and while we’ve rolled it out in Melbourne first because that’s where it’s from, we’re going to roll it out across all the capital city CBDs.”
Joining Nuciforo as finalists in the Best Disruptor category at the 2015 StartupSmart Awards are Oneshift and Safe Work Laboratories.
The winners of the StartupSmart Awards will be announced at an event in Melbourne on April 16. You can buy tickets here.