Alex Chalamova, Co-founder of ParkChamp
1. What does ParkChamp do?
ParkChamp App is an innovative way for individuals to find, reserve and pay for parking using their smartphone. Individuals and businesses list their vacant parking spots on the app to make extra money. They benefit from flexible scheduling and the ability to manage their capacity. ParkChamp is a cashless parking solution that reduces cost and inefficiencies for parking operations and is a seamless parking process for drivers.
2. What inspired you to start this? What problem are you solving?
Parking causes stress for drivers. Within large busy cities, parking rates are high, tickets are expensive and it can be hard to find.
Traditional parking companies provide minimal customer service, have harsh penalties and fees, inconvenient payment methods and do not always incorporate the latest technologies.
We saw an opportunity to improve the parking experience for all stakeholders involved. Our solution reduces the cost and provides a seamless way for drivers to find, reserve and pay for parking. We enable individuals, businesses and organizations to earn extra money simply by sharing their unused parking spaces.
3. How long did it take you to go from prototype to launch?
We worked on ParkChamp for about 7 months before making it live. We spent a lot of time looking at UX - we wanted to make sure we got that right. We tried to establish the best user experience, figure out the legalities and get to know our team. We all had the same vision and a desire to work on ParkChamp from day one.
4. How did you determine who your audience might be for this product?
We created a list of all possible people that would fit ParkChamp. We made scenarios of drivers parking for different occasions like events, work, airport or school. Then we created the owner scenarios. Our vision started with a peer to peer approach and has now evolved to more of a commercial audience.
5. What are your greatest achievements so far?
We gained exposure through various media channels. Winning People's Choice Award at one of Calgary's biggest tech events is one of our top achievements. We were able to break into the market with just the 3 of us.
6. What are your future goals?
We aspire to make ParkChamp a great experience for people to find and pay for parking. Our vision for ParkChamp is to be available across Canada, and then North America, and then the world.
7. How has Startup Calgary helped you so far?
Startup Calgary was one of the best exposure experiences for us. We left with a lot of contacts and connections. We were able to showcase our venture in front of a lot of people and got to meet many like minded entrepreneurs. We were able to learn a lot more about how to pitch and how to approach investors.
8. How can companies make the most of their experience with Startup Calgary and Launch Party?
Make connections and follow up with everyone you meet. Make the most out of the time with Startup Calgary and attend all of the events they provide. Startup Calgary was a great experience for us and we learned a lot along the way.
9. What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs who want to take their idea from the back of a napkin to the marketplace?
If you have a great idea and want to turn it into a business - don't wait! Do it now, and be ready to work very hard.
Being an entrepreneur is an amazing journey, so make sure you find the right team members.
Always take a failure as a learning opportunity and accept help from people out there who want to help you along the way.
Be prepared to give up your free time, social life and the concept of overnight success.
10. If you could do one thing differently while building your startup, what would you have done?
We wish we could have started earlier!
Learn more at: https://parkchamp.ca/
Published January 11, 2018