How ParkMate is working to solve urban parking problems
Moradabad-based ParkMate is an app-based autotech that offers smart, hyperlocal, and on-demand parking solutions.
In 2019, Dhananjaya Bharadwaj’s new car got towed away from a government-authorised parking lot, even though the parking attendant had parked it for him. When Bharadwaj enquired, the attendant openly denied any responsibility and showed him the parking ticket, which read, ‘Parking is at the owner’s risk’.
“Even worse, my car got damaged while getting towed, and I had to spend over Rs 1 lakh to get the car repaired as I could not claim insurance,” says Dhananjaya Bharadwaj, Co-founder and CEO of ParkMate.
Car parking has been a major problem in India. As per an IBM survey, a driver wastes up to 19 minutes trying to find a parking space in Delhi. The situation is even worse in Mumbai and Bengaluru.
To address these parking issues, Bharadwaj joined hands with Abhimanyu Singh, whom he had met during the Call of Duty World Tournament, to conceptualise.
Founded in 2021, ParkMate is an app-based autotech that offers smart, hyperlocal, and on-demand parking solutions. The Moradabad-based startup started its operations in May 2022.
“With our simple yet innovative approach, cutting-edge technology, and commitment to solving the problem of parking, we are looking forward to redefining the parking experience for day-to-day commuters by making it easier, more efficient, and more eco-friendly than ever before,” Bharadwaj tells YourStory.
Real-time parking solution
ParkMate offers users real-time confirmed parking service anywhere they go.
Bharadwaj says, ParkMate tracks the parking availability at a location and gets real-time data on the status of the parking. If the parking at one location is full, its algorithm automatically extends the geo-circle and provides information of the availability of parking beyond that location.
It has other services such as the Trishool system, which provides a hybrid FASTtag+ANPR+UniPay enabled system that automatically scans the licence plate and permits/logs the entry of vehicles accordingly using HD cameras, an inbuilt controller, and its in-house software.
ParkMate has also developed the Kavach System for residential complexes and automobile dealerships.
“With the ParkMate app, users simply need to enter the destination they want to visit, and once they reach the destination, they are received by a dedicated valet assigned to them. When they reach the location, they find our attendant standing and waiting for them. There is no need to look for or even visit parking,” says Bharadwaj.
The attendants are OTP-verified, and the cars are GPS-tagged so that users can track the car’s live movement. When the customer needs their car, they can tap on ‘Get my car’ option on the app, and it will be delivered back wherever they want.
ParkMate also shares 360-degree images of the cars before and after delivery with the customers.
Every attendant who works with ParkMate is verified and goes through a 12-day training programme. The training programme includes grooming classes, customer handling, driver training for all types of cars, application usage, crisis management, and basic legal know-how.
Currently, there are about 50 attendants and 18 employees working with the startup.
Bharadwaj says that it was challenging to instill trust among car owners that their cars would be handled with the utmost care. To overcome this bottleneck, ParkMate incorporated multiple layers of safety and interlocks within its application to reinforce trust among its users.
The next challenge was to integrate mapping technology into the valet application module, which was mandatory to guide ParkMate’s valets to the nearest available parking.
Additionally, the founders had to reach out to parking contractors, explain the benefits of ParkMate’s services, and set up additional arrangements that would enable them to efficiently utilise their manpower and parking spaces.
The number pool
ParkMate app is available on both Android and iOS for free, and has over 75,000 downloads. It has witnessed a retention rate of 55% on its platform.
The startup charges Rs 49 in Tier I cities and Rs 30 in Tier II cities. It has 14 modes of payments integrated within the app and customers can also pay by cash.
The founders initially invested Rs 9 lakh from their personal savings to bootstrap the startup. It is now perceiving a growth of 1.5X quarter-on-quarter, and is looking to clock Rs 4 crore in revenue by the end of FY23.
However, the co-founders declined to disclose the current revenue numbers.
Presently, the startup is offering its services in Lucknow and in some parts of Delhi such as Karol Bagh, Sarojini Nagar, and Connaught Place. It plans to expand to Mumbai in the coming months.
ParkMate competes with players including Secure Parking, Park+, ParkSmart, and MyParkings.
Bharadwaj says, “Our mission is to eradicate the pervasive problem of parking anxiety among car owners by delivering innovative, user-friendly parking solutions that leverage easy-to-use yet cutting-edge technology, customer service, and an understanding of the parking landscape.”
The startup also offers parking software and hardware solutions to hotels and malls such as Gaursons, Phoenix Malls, DLF Malls, and Fun Republic group. The services are available in 11 malls across Delhi-NCR and Lucknow.
Further, ParkMate has customised insurance solutions to cover the safety of cars against any damages, losses, or damage to third parties, among others. It has commercial general liability insurance from SBI.
Tie up with the government
ParkMate launched the Uttar Pradesh government’s first FASTag-enabled smart parking solution with the help of Lucknow Nagar Nigam and Hazratganj Trader Association in February 2023.
“ParkMate plans to automate major parking in Uttar Pradesh in the upcoming years. Its smart parking facility will solve the problem of haphazard and illegal parking, which will eventually ease traffic congestion and provide easier access for customers to the major markets. This will help generate more economic opportunities for the cities,” says Bharadwaj.
Within a short span of launching its services in Hazratganj in Lucknow, it has parked more than 3,000 cars.
According to Research and Markets, India’s smart parking market is valued at $350.55 million in 2023 and is expected to reach $593.63 million by 2028, growing at a CAGR of 11.11%.
"With rising urbanisation and increasing vehicle ownership, the demand for parking solutions is expected to surge, further fueling the growth of the market. Additionally, the development of smart cities and the adoption of technology-enabled parking solutions are likely to drive innovation and create new opportunities for players operating in this space,” he adds.
As of now, ParkMate has raised an undisclosed amount of funding led byWe Founder Circle for expanding its team and acquiring talent in September 2022.
The startup intends to serve about one million customers by the end of FY 2023. It also plans to introduce subscription plans, where users will get unlimited parking anywhere and everywhere.
ParkMate endeavours to broaden its reach across Tier I, II, and III geographies, “culminating in its emergence as the go-to problem-solver for the parking industry. This ambition shall be realised by offering a multifaceted array of solutions that cater to the diverse and evolving needs of its clientele,” says Bharadwaj.
“With our eyes firmly fixed on the horizon, we are excited to continue our journey of growth and expansion, bringing our one-stop parking management solutions to more cities and countries around the world,” he adds.
Edited by Megha Reddy