How JustPark found a space in the market
At our 2017 Global Entrepreneurship Week we caught up with one of the panellists from our past event, Inspiring Entrepreneurs: Question Time, which was set to be the flagship event for that year’s Global Entrepreneurship Week at the British Library. Anthony Eskinazi is the founder of the car parking app JustPark, an amazing tool that allows drivers from all over the United Kingdom to choose from millions of available spaces quickly and simply using their smartphones. With 1.5 million drivers already enjoying the benefits of JustPark, we spoke to Anthony about how he did it.
1.The JustPark app promises drivers a hassle-free experience that also saves them money. It sounds amazing but how does it work?
It’s quite simple, to be honest with you. When creating the JustPark app, I really wanted to consider the thought process of your average driver. From planning their journey to reaching their final destination, to eventually finding a parking space and paying.
As most drivers know all too well, parking can be quite a stressful experience when you’ve travelled a long distance to find out that you cannot park your car or have to pay an absolute fortune to do so. With JustPark we eradicate this stress by providing drivers with an easy to use app that finds available parking spaces depending on their location and distance settings. The app will also tell you whether space is going to be available and how much it will cost (if applicable). You can register via your Google or Facebook login and pay using Apple or Android Pay saving you time and taking less than one minute to log in, pay and have your parking space confirmed.
2. JustPark has proven to be a huge success in the United Kingdom. Do you have any plans to expand internationally?
Yes, we do! The aim for us was to test the market in the UK and ensure that we had the right product and service before entering the international market. Since JustPark was founded, we’ve been able to develop a product that is efficient and really does solve a pressing problem for drivers across the world. However, we strongly believe that the UK is one of the best markets for our service and therefore wanted to cement our position in the UK first before going anywhere else.
3. Did the idea for JustPark originate from a bad personal parking experience, or did you just spot an obvious gap in the market?
I would say both. It really stems from a frustrating experience I had driving with a friend in San Francisco when travelling to watch a baseball game. We arrived in good time for the game but ended up wasting a lot of time searching for a parking space. After searching high and low for space and not having too much luck doing so, I thought about asking a homeowner who lived nearby to the stadium if we could pay $10 to park in their driveway. I didn’t do it but the idea for JustPark had been born.
I knew that this was a common theme at events in the UK, especially focused on major events such as Wimbledon, where people would rent out their underused parking spaces. The big difference for me is that the gap was really in the online transactions market, which would make life much easier for drivers, taking away the hassle and guarantee a stress-free experience.
4. With the tech industry constantly evolving at an incredible speed, how do you ensure JustPark stays ahead of the competition?
In an industry like ours, it is very important to continuously invest in research and development. We make sure that the team are up-to-date with the latest technologies and able to learn and develop their understanding of what is happening in the technology and parking industries. It is vital that all of us are involved in this process as it allows us to share knowledge and continue to be at the forefront.
5. Having founded JustPark and seen it grow into a huge success, could you see yourself doing it all over again with a new company?
As things stand I am really enjoying the work I’m doing with JustPark and haven’t thought too much about what comes next. I’ve started investing in interesting high-growth tech start-ups to help me understand different sectors. It would be exciting to try something new but we’ll just have to wait and see.
6. If you could give a young Anthony some advice, what would it be and why?
My first piece of advice would be to have fun and make sure you don’t miss out on life’s enjoyable moments. I think it’s easy to get caught up with your business and forget that a new feature or opportunity is likely to still be there tomorrow. Relationships with close friends and family are important. These are the people who will build you back up and give you a hug after a knock-down and cheer you from the rooftops when things are going well. It is important to find a work-life balance that works for you. Becoming an entrepreneur is a lifestyle, not a career choice.
The second piece of advice would be to work with other people. It makes the entrepreneurial experience much more enjoyable and although you may have to share a piece of the pie, you will benefit from the shared knowledge, experiences and ideas. You don’t have to do it alone!
If you’d like fire some of your own questions to some of the UK’s top entrepreneurs during Global Entrepreneurship Week and thereafter, don’t forget that the Business & IP Centre will be hosting a range of similar events exploring the theme of entrepreneurship and others. You can rewatch the event: Inspiring Entrepreneurs: Question Time 2017, on our YouTube channel.