Need parking? Get a space in a jiffy (er divvy) with this website.
Divvy Parking wants to eliminate the hassle of looking for a parking space. Drivers book a slot online and can check the availability of parking spaces in the area. Listing a parking space is free. Divvy Parking profits by taking a cut of the rentals.
The Sydney-based startup makes finding a place to park timely and affordable and CEO Nick Austin plans to hit up Hong Kong next.
There’s certainly room for improvement in the market. The Standard recently covered the exorbitantly-charged and overwhelming demand for parking spaces. Areas like Tsuen Wan face an imbalance between parking lots and demand, with the increase in residential properties going up.
“We use technology to create incredible efficiency, so we don’t have all these operating costs,” says Austin.
The upside is that with less under utilised space, building valuations go up, making property managers happy.
The idea for the startup came to life three years ago, envisioned then by Austin as more of a P2P platform.
“I was driving around [in Sydney], frustrated by trying to find a place to park. There’s so much wastage. I thought, why are there vacant car parking spaces but people wasting time finding the same space? It creates so much congestion,” he tells e27.
Austin began by approaching residents or buildings,“literally doing a lot of walking around the neighborhood”, mapping out the supply and demand and the areas where drivers wanted parking.
In June 2015, Divvy Parking raised US$2.5 million in Series A round from undisclosed investors. New partners include property groups DEXUS, GPT and Knight Frank.
Making Hong Kong a smarter city
“Our focus now is on Hong Kong,” says Austin on his recent visit to the city, prompted by interested investors.
Austin and his team are planning to work with buildings to create an inventory for the thousands of currently under utilised parking spaces in Hong Kong.
“Cities are growing at a rapid pace and there’s pressure to create smarter technologies for existing infrastructure. One thing that can be significantly improved is parking. In Hong Kong, you have hardly any street parking. There has been a growth in the number of car owners, but not parking,” says Austin.
Hong Kong may also be lagging behind other cities in terms of providing transparent and accessible information about parking spots.
Singapore, for instance, sports signboards at popular junctions that show the number of available parking spaces in nearby car parks.
Austin is also a believer of the sharing economy and the concept of collaborative consumption, which is about sharing with the community. By sharing services or products when not in use and giving others access to them truly allow a city to become ‘smarter’.