We had an interesting chat with Mr. “Chandler Burke”, Founder of the Chattanooga – USA based start-up “ParkParrot”
Below is the interview we conducted with him:
1. What is it exactly that you do and what your start-up is all about?
ParkParrot is a completely automated system that shows users where available parking is located. It doesn’t require any user input and saves users time, money and headache by being simple guided to open parking.
2. When has your startup been founded? And what stage is your startup currently at?
The company was founded early 2014 and we have just finished up our prototype. Everything works well and we are ready to move on to the next stage of development.
3. What is your startup’s business model and how does it work?
Our service will be offered to the public free of charge so as to gain as many users as possible. Our revenue will be earned primarily through the owners of the parking lot who will see increased lot usage due to our services. Various revenue streams will be earned through these lot owners but the most substantial will be monthly service fees to gain access to the ParkParrot data.
4. How did your team meet? And who in your team does what?
Our entire team came in to meet through our local university. Chandler is the founder, Daniel J and Daniel L are hardware engineers. Stuart F, Keelan C and Hooper K are software engineers.
5. What, exactly, makes you different from existing options, what will make your product and/or service stand out in the marketplace? In other words what’s unique about you and what’s new about what you make?
Service does so much more than just show users where parking lots are located, we show them if there are any spaces left in that lot! Also our service doesn’t require any user input. Other services rely on users to constantly let each other know about parking lot availability but we’ve developed unique hardware and married it with custom software to provide users with parking data in real time.
6. What is your growth like? And what milestones has your startup achieved so far?
We’ve completed our first milestones of building a working prototype and proving our concept. We’re looking to beta test later this year and launch to the public.
7. Who are your competitors? And what is your start-up’s competitive advantage over them?
Our main competitor is Streeline but they have not moved in to our geographic area. Our advantage is a lower hardware cost and being first to move in our area.
8. What obstacles did you face and how did you overcome them?
Our main obstacle that we’ve faces is our lack of funds. We’ve bootstrapped our entire company and produced a working prototype for pennies on the dollar of what it would cost other developed to do. We haven’t let what we don’t have stand it the way of what we want.
9. What are the key things about your field that outsiders don’t understand?
They don’t really seem to understand the complexity of the business. It’s not as simple as we make it sound and have taken hundreds if not thousands of man ours to get to where we are now. It a very difficult thing to perfect and can’t be done without a real commitment.
10. Why are you going to succeed?
We’re going to succeed for 2 reason, the people behind ParkParrot won’t give up until we’ve reached our goal and we have a service the people really want. We’re helping users save time, money and reducing stress, and we’re doing it for free, its about as good as it gets.
11. If your startup succeeds, what additional areas might you be able to expand into?
We’ll expand regionally to begin with but there is no ceiling for ParkParrot as far as geographical regions are concerned. We can eventually be anywhere parking lots are located.
12. Why did you choose this idea and concept to build your start-up based on?
We chose this idea because we deal with the difficulty of finding parking spaces ourselves. We not only want to give this to users, we want to use it ourselves.
13. What have you learned so far from launching your idea?
That starting a business will take you down every side road and back alley to get you to where you want to be. It’s not a straight shot and the road is windy, but it’s been well worth it so far. It also gives you a real sense of admiration for those who have started successful businesses around you. You realize how much it too for them to get to where they are.
14. Six months from now, what’s going to be your biggest problem?
Probably the same one that we’re starting to face now, getting people to know who we are. It not easy to tell people about yourself when you’re just getting started and don’t have much of a voice.
15. What’s the benefit for the customer/user?
They save time, money and reduces their stress levels but no longer having to search for available parking spaces. The process of finding a parking space for them will forever be easier.
16. How did customers / users find out about you?
Mostly through local media sources like news stations and papers. We’ve also pushedParkParrot as much as we could on social media platforms and experienced relative success.
17. Who are your current customers / users? Who are your target customers / users?
We don’t have any current customers yet but our target customers are parking lot owners. Both large and small lot owners can benefit from our services so we aren’t limited to very specific demographic as far as that goes. For our app users, anyone who regularly look for a parking space for their care could be a customer of ours.
18. Where do new customers / users come from and what makes new customers/users try you?
They will be able to try us our once we launch our beta phase in Chattanooga TN. Once that’s successful users will be able to use our services throughout all the locations and parking lots that we expand to.
19. What do your customers / users say about your product and/or service?
Everyone we’ve talked to is so excited to see us get started. All the people we’ve spoken to say that they wish they they had had this service a long time ago!
20. How are you going to scale?
The parking lot owners will cover the costs of most of our hardware meaning that once we have interested lot owners, we can move forward with manufacturing more hardware with the revenue from the lot owners.
21. What’s the biggest missing feature? The one thing customers/users keep asking for?
They are asking where its going to be available. They are interested in having the service in their geographic area so that they can use our services on a daily basis.
22. Are you going to internationalize? And if yes how are you planning to expand your start-up’s operations accordingly?
No we won’t be an international company for sometime. We need to be an established company here in the US before we try and tackle the hurdle of moving across the pond.
23. How big do you think you can get? Why? And how you are planning to achieve your goals?
We can eventually be very big. Our model will eventually be able to work in any and every lot. We plan on achieving our goals by slowly gaining momentum. We don’t want to get to big for our shoes and offer a service that is watered down. We’ll make sure that we grow at a pace that we can handle so that ParkParrot works exactly the way we want it to.
24. Are you looking to hire a new workforce? And if yes, what job vacancies do you currently offer and where can potential applicants contact you at?
No we arent looking to hire as of right now. One day that will definitely be necessary but not until we grow out of our immediate area. We’d also like to hire locals once that day comes.
25. Are you looking for partnership opportunities or funding from Venture Capitals (VC) or other funding sources? Or your business is self-sustainable? And if the first option applies where can potential partners / investors contact you at?
We have already partnered with a local VC firm and have learned a great deal from all of those who have taken a leap of faith on us so far.We don’t mind hearing from other VCs so they can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
26. What advice do you have for fresh entrepreneurs?
The best advice that we can give is to prepare yourself over and above what you think is
necessary. This adventure will take you down so many unexpected roads and you’ll find yourself lost if you haven’t taken the right precautions before getting started.
27. Finally, do you have any other comments that you would like to add
We are currently live on kickstarter for the next 23 days and are struggling to get expose among all the other products. We would love to be featured quickly so that we can gain some traction and get off the ground. Here is the link!. http://kck.st/1FOgL7P