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On Demand Businesses 101

Meet ParqEx, a marketplace helping people find or list a private parking spot in Chicago

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Dealing with major parking problems ? If you are living in an urban area your answer is probably yes!!.

Vivek Mehra founder and CEO of ParqEx was apparently dealing with the same problem when he decided to find a solution for the same. ParqEx is an online platform based on the marketplace model which is helping people find a private parking spot in Chicago. On the other hand, this parking startup is making it easy for owners to rent out their parking place.

ParqEx is currently operating in Chicago and soon plans to expand to other US cities including Washington D.C. , San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami and New York.

  • Startup Vertical: Parking spot sharing.
  • ParqEX Founder : Vivek Mehra
  • Founded: April 2014.
  • Headquarters: Chicago.
  • ParqEX Tagline: The Private Parking Marketplace

We talked about this innovative startup named ParqEx with Vivek Mehra (Founder and CEO) to get insights into its business model and other details. Here’s all that he said.

About ParqEx

Q) Starting a community based car parking platform is definitely a great idea. Tell us a little about ParqEx and your personal motivation for starting this platform?

With ParqEx, we’re creating a private parking marketplace. We connect parking spot owners with parking spot renters to help alleviate parking stress in places where it’s often hard to find.

ParqEx came about when I [CEO Vivek Mehra] started to really notice the daily struggles of the urban driver. Once, after visiting a friend downtown, I returned to where I parked only to find my car had been towed because of the “two-inches of snow” rule. Not only did I have to pay over $250 in towing fees and fines, but I spent half the day looking for my car, freezing in the cold. Completely out of patience for risky street parking, I decided to ask a neighbor if he’d be willing to rent me his otherwise rarely-used spot. The arrangement was a win-win—as well as a revelation: The neighbor made some quick money, and I was able to secure a cheaper and more convenient parking spot. This experience was the inspiration for ParqEx, a peer-to-peer parking platform that would enable neighbors to make similar arrangements with far more convenience and accountability than simply putting up a sign or posting on Craigslist.

Q) Can you give us a rundown of how it works?

ParqEx is a peer-to-peer platform. As such, our technology connects owners and renters to one another then serves as a secure place for them to complete the transaction. We cover the backend, logistics, and customer support while our community provides the parking spaces.

If you own a parking spot:
Download the app or use parqex.com
Enter the address of your spot, any special access instructions, and add a photo
List the times when your spot is available and the price you want to rent it for (spots can be listed by the hour, day, week, month or even longer term)
Publish your listing
Approve requests from renters and get paid!20150814-ParqEx-5

If you’re looking for a spot:

Download the app or use parqex.com
Enter the location and timeframe for when you need parking
Choose the spot that best suits your need
Book the spot and park!

Q) What is the value proposition you are offering to the users ?

For our spot-owner users it’s convenience, immediate way to rent out their parking spots and make extra income. For the renters, we’re providing an exclusive private parking inventory that they can’t find anywhere else in the industry. By enabling private spot owners to list their spaces, the renters can find parking closer to where they need to be, especially in residential neighbourhoods without many commercial parking options.

Q) You are present in different cities of USA. What is your strategy while launching services in new regions?

We have currently launched only in Chicago but plan to expand. Our strategy involves local community building so we can show real results of our service to owners and renters when launching in new regions.

Q) Could you shed some light on the technology and tools used to build ParqEx ?

Our website is built on Microsoft ASP.Net, and C#.
The mobile app is a hybrid platform built on HTML5, JavaScript Frameworks, and PhoneGap.
Our backend database is Microsoft SQL Server.

ParqEx Marketing & Branding

Q) What is one particular Marketing Tool or process which you swear by, that has helped you gain more users on the platform?

Word of mouth has been extremely helpful in attracting new users to our platform. Once customers sign up, they get excited about the otherwise hidden parking they are able to reserve and they naturally talk about it to their friends. Parking is such a ubiquitously complained about pain point in our communities—we provide a solution.

Q) What are your future plans? Are you planning to integrate more features in the service?

Innovation is key for ParqEx. We’re continuously working to add features that will provide the highest level of customer satisfaction for both our owners and renters.

Q) What is your onboarding process for users, if any?

Users must create a ParqEx account in order to list or search for parking. Renters enter their license plate number so spot owners know the car that’s parked in their space is the one they’ve approved via ParqEx. Owners fill out a payout preferences form so we can send their earnings in the way that works best for them. We aim for the platform to be super simple to use but we will also help new users list their spots by phone if needed.

Q)What is ParqEx’ biggest achievement to date? How did you go about accomplishing this?
We were recently voted into the final four of a startup competition hosted by Fast Company and Hyatt. Although we didn’t advance to the final round, getting as far as we did helped prove that the ParqEx idea resonates with people. We’re providing a simple solution to a problem with far reach, and we’re accomplishing this by connecting untapped resources (open urban parking spots) to resourceful people (savvy urban parkers). It’s a formula that could work—and is working—for so many things in today’s on-demand/sharing economy.

ParqEx Future Plans

Q) Where do you see ParqEx in five years?

We see ParqEx in every major city within the United States. Wherever parking is a problem, we’re going to be there to help provide a solution.

Q) Any advice for startups trying to make it big or join the On-Demand space?

Persistence is key and failure an ally. Keep on fighting the good fight and learn from your setbacks. Also be sure to listen to your community so you can adapt to serve it better.

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