Meet our CODE_n CONTEST Finalists 2016: evopark from Germany
Our CODE_n CONTEST finalist evopark is the market leader in digital off-street parking in Germany. Their app allows you to easily find off-street parking locations and check real-time availability. Parking lot tickets become obsolete as you can enter and exit lots and garages by opening barriers automatically using RFID technology (evotag). The young company, selected for the Connected Mobility cluster, also works with exclusive retail partners to offer discounts on parking fees. We talked to Sven Lackinger (Business Development) about his startup:
What is evopark all about? How did you come up with the idea?
Sven: My founder colleague Max had the ground-breaking idea to evopark. On holidays in France, he was annoyed by waiting at toll stations although he just had to pay a few coins. At the same time other drivers passed the barriers quickly by holding up a card. He remembered a similar situation in German parking garages and wondered whether there could be a solution to simplify the process. Back in Germany, we refined the idea together with our fellow students Tobias and Marik. In 2014 we founded evopark.
About 30% of all inner-city traffic results from drivers looking for a parking spot. At the same time, however, most parking garages still have unused capacity even on busy days. A major potential which evopark tackles by offering an innovative parking service. The evopark parking card replaces the usual paper ticket. No more queuing at the pay station. No more looking for change. Parking with evopark is significantly easier and more convenient. Best yet: evopark is completely free of surcharge for drivers. Customers only pay the regular parking fees. The well-proven long range UHF RFID technology on our parking card enables convenient and highly reliable entry and exit. Barriers automatically identify the
integrated chip. The system works completely seamless.
“Digital Disruption“ – that’s the motto of this year’s CODE_n CONTEST. What makes your solution innovative, what makes it disruptive?
Sven: The German parking market is fragmented and characterized by a deeply ingrained traditional thinking. It was a hard way to convince parking operators to confide in an innovative product in the first place. But we believed in the success of our concept, so that we insisted and persistently pursued our goal – with success! Being first in the market, we offer a fully integrated solution suitable for all common parking management systems. An attractive product and a sustainable business model provide benefits for all stakeholders. We believe, that is the only way a digital product can generate added value for the industry in the long-term. Drivers park more easily and comfortably. Parking garages are getting more attractive, frequencies increase. The solution to credit customers’ parking fees supports local retailers. A concept, which clearly pays off. Last but not least, again being first in the market, we gained the automobile manufacturer Porsche as investor: Its newly founded subsidiary, the Porsche Digital GmbH invested a seven-digit figure in evopark.
You’re one of the 13 finalists in the Connected Mobility contest cluster. Which challenges do you think young companies have to face in this sector? How do you handle these challenges?
Sven: From our experience, my connected mobility innovations require a rather high amount of investment and have to somehow comply with existing infrastructures. Furthermore, the adoption process on the customer side, being it B2B or B2C clients is often slow. This makes it especially hard for startups to enter this field, as they usually have to grow fast and burn little money. Therefore, we always keep an eye on our cost structure to endure rather slow innovation cycles and also try to prove our concept within clearly defined pilots to convince investors. Furthermore, we found partnerships with existing industry players or other startups within the mobility sector to be very helpful.
We read that it’s best to just leave my evopark card in my car while parking. Let’s say I took it out for some reason anyhow and lost it – what security issues do I have to expect now?
Sven: No problem. Just call our customer service or request a replacement through the online portal. We will block your card immediately so nobody can misuse it. Of course you have the opportunity to get you a new parking card. We will send it that same day, so that you will receive it within two workdays.
Thanks for the interview, Sven!