Presenting a chat with company co-founder- Manohar Kamath. The company park.it has created a very useful application for any driver who is trying to park their car in a major city such as San Francisco, New York and others.
What inspired you to start this venture?
I drive to San Francisco quite often for business and pleasure. Every time I have to drive around to find parking and constantly worry of not knowing the parking rules. I talked to several people who live in SF and commute from the Bay Area, who shared my views. Hence, invariably I parked in the garages which is quite expensive. My business partner lives in downtown SF for the last 10+ years. He received several parking tickets and got his car towed several times. Also, was ticketed not knowing about Parking Sign changes. He needs to move his car every week for street cleaning. All these hassles forced us to think of a Mobile parking solution for major metro cities. Necessity is the mother of invention and "Park.it" was born.
How is a crowd source based start up different from a pure technology play?
To me, it depends whether the application/solution you are providing can be crowd sourced. Crowd sourced solution are easy to scale and also it could have a nice social aspect to it. Hence, if there is direct benefit to the consumer/user they are more likely to participate. Crowd sourced technology also helps in $$ savings, which otherwise you have to spend $$ to build or get the information. On the other hand, the interface has to be simple for the user. Pure play technology can have higher barrier to entry and depending on the solution can have higher development and marketing cost.
What were some of the challenges that you had deal with?
Park.it in its infancy period, was about creation of a proprietary parking regulation database infrastructure (data collection, verification methodology and on-going maintainability) to ensure 95% accuracy. The database was built such that, at any given time the API's could spit out all relevant street-by-street or garage parking information either forward or backward in time.
One common concern for crowd source data is the signal-to-noise ratio. Was this a concern for you as well? If yes, how did you solve it?
Our (Park.it) solution is not crowd source based, hence not a concern. Parking requires high accuracy and easy-to-use solution for quick adoption. By the way,crowd source based solutions need to have a mechanism of validating the incoming data (Garbage in = Garbage out).
Any predictions for 2014?
Assume you are referring to Crowd source based technologies & business. Companies such as CrowdMed (Healthcare), Kaggle Inc etc.have been funded.