JUSTPARK FINDS A NEW SPACE
This interview is with the founder of JustPark Anthony Eskinazi.
In 2006, Anthony Eskinazi founded the website ParkatmyHouse.com after experiencing parking frustration in San Francisco. The website entered into a strategic partnership with and received investment from BMW in 2011, before rebranding as JustPark and taking investment from Index Ventures in 2014.
Before this, Anthony studied Mathematics at Leeds University and Berkeley in California. You can follow him on twitter here
MF: Can you tell our readers what JustPark is, and how it works?
JustPark is transforming the stressful, inefficient process of parking. Using our website and app, drivers can book convenient parking spaces in advance or on-the-spot, choosing from over 100,000 across the UK.
Our average space costs less than half the price of its nearest on-street equivalent and all of them are 100% traffic warden-free.
JustPark’s parking spaces are provided by over 25,000 homeowners, churches, schools, car parks and pubs, who make over £6 million through renting out their underused spots on the platform.
IBM says that 30% of urban traffic and pollution is caused by people circling for parking. By letting drivers navigate directly to their pre-booked space, JustPark is championing sustainable parking.
MF: What inspired you to create JustPark?
I was inspired to create JustPark while I was on a round-the-world trip after I’d finished university. My friends and I were in San Francisco, struggling to park at a baseball game. I saw an empty driveway right next to the stadium and realised there was a great opportunity for homeowners and drivers – if only they could find a way of making contact. I arrived home in London, built the website from scratch, and the business was born.
MF: With so many parking apps out there, why should users use JustPark?
JustPark is the only parking app and website that brings parking spaces at residential homes, commercial and council car parks, churches, schools, hotels, pubs and more together onto one simple platform. With JustPark, drivers can book parking for as little as 5 minutes and as long as a year, either on-the-spot or in advance. Where other parking apps specialise in certain types of bookings, JustPark has it all, giving our drivers the widest choice and most competitive prices.
MF: What kind of advertising do you do?
Mostly online, with print adverts in two trade magazines.
MF: How did ParkatmyHouse.com evolve into JustPark?
When I first founded the business in 2006, it was called ParkatmyHouse. At that point, we were the first company to recognise that new mobile tech could be used to solve the age old headache of parking – simply by connecting property owners with unused parking spaces to drivers in need of a place to park.
As peer-to-peer driveway rental became more and more popular in the UK, our community of drivers rapidly grew and we had mounting interest from companies wanting to work together. Responding to this, ParkatmyHouse relaunched as JustPark in 2014 to reflect how much its business has developed.
As JustPark, our offering extends beyond domestic driveways to commercial and council car parks, hotels, churches, schools and pubs, with partnerships with hotel giants Hilton and Holiday Inn, and with major commercial car park groups including Europe’s largest parking company, APCOA.
MF: What interests you about the travel/transport space?
It’s been estimated that the average driver spends 106 days of their life searching for a parking space. The idea that we can cut out that wasted time, that frustration and inconvenience, and improve people’s lives in small ways every day is a huge motivator for everyone at JustPark.
MF: What problems are you trying to solve?
At JustPark, we’re bringing parking into the digital age, disrupting a sector in dire need of innovation.
The problem is one we can all relate to. For decades, drivers in cities, towns and around stadiums and train stations have had to put up with the frustration and uncertainty of circling the streets, hoping to find a convenient and affordable parking space. This circling not only wastes time, but clogs up our roads and adds to urban pollution.
By letting drivers navigate directly to a pre-booked space, JustPark helps to cut down this congestion and pollution, while promoting a more efficient use of urban space.
At the same time, local home and business owners are able to make money from previously underused assets. People living around stadiums and airports make a second income by letting sports fans and holidaymakers park on their driveways. Churches, like the one in St Pancras which has made over £160,000 from their parking spaces, are able to fund community projects. These earnings go back into the local economy.
The entire area benefits from better traffic flow and an improved capacity to accommodate visitors. Shoppers are encouraged to return to local high streets, without fear of extortionate and hard-to-find parking.
MF: How do you attract investors? When you started, how did you raise money?
We didn’t raise money for a very long time. The company was bootstrapped for its first 5 years and then we were introduced to BMW by chance more than anything. With great numbers, vision and now an awesome team solving a real consumer problem, we’ve been able to attract one of the world’s most trusted VCs in Index Ventures.
MF: If you could be based out of any other city where would it be?
London is probably the best city in the world for launching a service like JustPark. It has a great mixture of major transport stations, stadiums, airports and private inventory not far from the city centre. I’d also love to live in New York – I feed off constant buzz and the hustle and bustle.
MF: What app can you not live without?
CityMapper: it helps me navigate around London in the most efficient way. Their aim of simplifying journeys and eliminating the stress of getting from A to B is similar to what we’re trying to do with JustPark for drivers.
MF: Any advice for other entrepreneurs out there?
Be persistent – I’ve been close to giving up many times over the past few years, but persevered and am now in a great place with the business. Maintain your relationships outside of your working environment – these are the friends that will be there to celebrate with you if you’re successful or be a shoulder to cry on when things don’t work out.