Parkpnp, a company which describes itself as the Airbnb of parking has made it through to the final of the Innovation Awards 2018, the winner of which will be announced later this month.
The company, which is based in Dublin, was co-founded by Garett Flower from Colehill in Longford and has been nominated in the Sustainability category.
The overall winner of The Irish Times Innovation of the Year Award 2018 will be selected from among the five category award winners.
The prize for the overall winner is a unique communications package worth in excess of €150,000 as well as a scholarship for all three Executive Development courses from UCD Smurfit Business School commencing in 2019.
Parkpnp users can rent out car parking spaces by the hour, day, week or month, and cash in on hitherto underutilised assets.
The idea came about as a result of Flower’s first experience driving in Dublin.
“I bought my first car 2½ years ago,” he added.
“On my first day out in it I found myself driving up and down Ranelagh looking for a parking space.
“I eventually noticed a space outside a house, so I knocked on the door and asked if it was okay to park there.
“The women in the house said it was fine. I went back the next day with a box of chocolates and a tenner in a card to thank her. She said she should do this more often. That was the ah-ha moment for me.”
The idea became a reality when Flower met co-founder Daniel Paul, who has been building apps since he was 16 years old.
Having gained backing from a number of investors including Enterprise Ireland, the company launched in 2015, and has now expanded into the Belgian and Dutch markets.
“Parking space owners can use the phone app or the website. They can rent it out hourly or for months if they wish. Users can open the app and pre-book parking before they leave home if they wish. We are talking to pubs, restaurants, hotels and local authorities around Ireland at the moment,” said Mr Flower.
“We are also working with commercial car park operators like Euro Car Parks, Q-Park, and ParkRite.
“All of these parking options will be available on a single marketplace. This will make our towns and cities more sustainable.
he market for this service is massive. The global car parking market is worth €100 billion annually. We will run our first US trial shortly.
“We also plan to develop new products and services. Our next offering is ParkOffice, a parking management system for companies which will allow them to offer parking to more of their staff utilising existing space. The system will know when staff are out sick, on holidays or out of the office for other reasons and offer their space to colleagues.”
Parkpnp is up against Eirgrid also from Dublin and Wicklow based Ó Cualann Cohousing Alliance.
The aim of the Innovation Awards, which are now in their ninth year, is to showcase and reward excellence in innovation across a range of products and services.
The winners will be announced at a high-profile awards ceremony at the RDS in Dublin on November 20 next.