With the end of the year in sight, it’s time to take a look back at what 2016 had to offer. What’s clear is that the startup industry is still flourishing, with many young entrepreneurs that have plenty of innovative, disruptive ideas for the future. The following days we will be looking back at the startups that stood out to us particularly, and ask them about 2016 and their plans for the future. Today: Parking solutions startup ParkEagle.
Save time, reduce exhaust and unclog traffic
Few activities can be such a pain in the *ss as trying to find a parking space in a big city. So when a startup comes along that claims to make parking “fast fun and easy”, your initial reaction may be: “Really? Never been to Amsterdam I guess?” But these guys may have a solution that will actually save car drivers valuable time finding a spot, thus reducing exhaust and also unclogging urban traffic at the same time. Their discs with wireless sensors network keep track of which parking spots are free. Drivers can then see live availability on the app. So no more searching around for a spot for half an hour before going into the city.
2016: The Eagle has landed
COO Juriaan Karsten (l) joined ParkEagle early 2016 as co-founder after Jan Lubbers (m) and Peter Wit (r) founded the startup in 2015. With infectious passion and excitement, he talks us through the new heights that ParkEagle has risen to in 2016: “We officially incorporated our business in 2016, and really matured and professionalized during Startupbootcamp. We succeeded in making a demonstrable scalable business case for corporates. As a result we gained our first corporate client, which became Delta Lloyd. We also have a letter of intent from the Rotterdam city council, who want to use our discs for a better traffic flow of taxi-stands”. Karsten wishes more Dutch cities would take parking problems as seriously as Rotterdam does: “Cities throughout the country are not yet on the same page when it comes to mobility. Each city should realize that solving its parking problems will lead to less traffic, less costs and less exhaust”.
Widening its Wingspan
ParkEagle also received a lot of critical acclaim in 2016 by winning both the Rotterdam Mobility Lab contest and the Amsterdam edition of Get in The Ring in September. It can be tempting to strike while the iron is hot and focus on a few seedrounds. Instead this eagle stayed back in its nest hatching its egg: “We are constantly fine-tuning our product” Karsten explains. “We have been making our product more robust through rigorous testing. In 2017 we will have a fully scalable product, that we can implement into whole areas of cities. It will also be multi-deployable indoor (in parking garages) as well as outdoor”. With another test case the startup is working on, it reveals itself to be one noble eagle: “We are working on a case for a special app for parking spaces for disabled people. That case is close to our hearts”.
2016 was also the year in which this eagle caught its first big prey, as the young startup gained its first corporate client. For Karsten the contract with Delta Lloyd was the major milestone in a year full of highlights: “They say dealing with corporates is hard but that’s not how we experienced it yet. Things can move fast if you have a fan in a company. That would also be my advice to every startup out there: find that potential ambassador of your product within a company, that person that gets a twinkle in their eyes when they start talking about your product”.
Soaring to new heights in 2017 and 2018
2017 is promising to be a big year for the mobility company: “We want to raise our first seed funding round, and use the funds to hire an extra software engineer so we can really fine-tune our product, handle more deployments and go faster. We are in conversations about funding but if anyone is interested in co-investing, we are open to meet. 2017 will be all about ticking the boxes and in 2018 we want to really enter our hockeystick growth curve.”
Get in the Ring-Photo by Fred van Diem, provided by ACE Venture Lab.