Finalist | parkpocket (Germany) - big data for real time parking solutions

02/27/2015  |  CODE_n Alumni, CODE_n15 Startup CONTEST, Interview

parkpocketparkpocket is a big data company for parking. In real-time, car drivers are informed about vacant car parks, prices, e-mobility charging stations and other features, and are directly navigated there. We talked to Karoline Bader, CFO of parkpocket about their solution which can be used via its own mobile app, but also be integrated into other digital devices and services.

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Where did your idea for the company come from?

Karoline Bader, CFO: Stefan had the original idea when he still studied at Hohenheim University and lived close to Stuttgart Airport. Being faced with the parking problem around that area and the lack of transparency in the parking market, he started to look into different approaches for solving that problem starting with a shared parking approach. Today, however, parkpocket has become a big data company in the parking market showing car drivers in real-time where to park, how much it costs and even where to charge their electric vehicle. Particularly, through the support of several cities and municipalities, this advancement was possible.

For which kind of audience is your product or service intended and what problem is it solving?

Karoline Bader, CFO: On the one hand, parkpocket’s service is tailored to enhance transparency and reduce parking search time of car drivers in urban areas via parkpocket’s mobile application. On the other hand, B2B customers such as navigation system providers, car manufacturers or automotive suppliers integrate parkpocket’s solution into their own digital devices or services, e.g. in the context of a connected-car solution. Hence, parkpocket is able to support cities and municipalities in enhancing traffic management, reducing traffic volumes and decreasing CO2 emissions.

Tell us a bit about the company’s founders like their professional or industry background and the origins of the founding idea.

Karoline Bader, CFO: Originally, parkpocket was founded by my brother Stefan and me. We have already gained experience in the mobility sector before. Stefan worked for Volkswagen Group in South Africa in the Technical Project Management Department. I myself am about to finish my PhD and have previously worked in cooperative projects with Bosch, ZF, Daimler, Audi and SAP. To have all core competences regarding IT, design and engineering in the founding team, Florian, Marius and Benedikt joined parkpocket last year. Since the five founders have already been knowing each other from school, the level of trust in the team is very high.

Parking in public and private spaces is a very controversial topic: cities are more and more trying to keep individual transport out of their city centre by raising parking fees. How would you describe your experiences with communes and local authorities?

Karoline Bader, CFO: We have experienced that the organization and structure regarding parking management differs from city to city. We chose to cooperate with German cities in the sense that parkpocket retrieves real-time data of vacancy in car parks. In return, parkpocket contributes to solving the parking problem in urban areas by enhancing transparency in the parking market. We believe that there will always be cars driving in inner cities. Hence, parkpocket contributes to optimizing traffic management in urban areas with its real-time data solution.