The Silicon Review
Ever since the 1940s and 50s when car ownership began increasing at a rapid pace, personal vehicles have become an indispensable tool in our daily lives. However, providing parking for all those vehicles–at home, at work, and during leisure–is a problem that still needs solving. As consumer drivers, we tend to think of parking as an inconvenience. As business managers, it’s another line item, often at the back of our minds. In city planning, parking is both a source of revenue from citations and a necessary evil in urban landscapes. The one thing that all these verticals have in common? All these parking woes can be streamlined and improved with the right data and tools.
One business at the forefront of innovation in parking software is Pavemint. In addition to marketplace services that allow online parking reservations, Pavemint offers an extensive suite of software and consulting tools. With design-focused customizable products, their services cater to businesses within all kinds of industries, including hotels, event venues, city governments, universities, and of course, parking operators.
In conversation with Dave Lin, CEO of Pavemint.
Q. Can you tell us about your services in brief?
In a sentence, Pavemint provides parking management software with marketplace services. But the truth of our vision is much more comprehensive in scope. We provide a fully customizable suite of software and consulting tools to create tech-forward parking solutions for businesses of all types and sizes. Most importantly, we design all our products with end-users in mind, empowering our clients to make parking operations more cost-efficient and better organized.
We launched in 2015 with Pavemint Consumer, an iOS app and website that focused on helping drivers find and reserve parking spaces online. Our goal was to work toward reducing the environmental impact of parking while improving urban mobility, at the same time opening up new forms of revenue for residents and businesses who were new to monetizing their parking. In the process of pinpointing businesses throughout the greater Los Angeles area, we succeeded in creating a collaboration that provided off-site parking in high-traffic areas, and from there, our services kept expanding to include more and more aspects of parking management.
Q. Why do you think there is a need for a dedicated platform for parking management?
When customers arrive at a location, whether it’s a hotel, event venue, restaurant, or any other business, their first and last impressions usually involve parking. They may encounter a valet, a ticketed parking garage, or at worst, they may find themselves driving endlessly around the block looking for a space. Yet even though the customer journey may be bookended with parking, too often, it’s the last consideration of the business owner.
Parking can be a make-or-break moment for your customer, and delivering a positive experience doesn’t have to be expensive or overly complicated. Parking management software allows businesses, operators and lot owners to modernize the overall parking experience with cutting edge features like real-time space management, shared parking (e.g., two interns sharing one pass), SMS car retrieval, and much more. With the tools and data Pavemint provides, companies can offer a superior customer experience while simultaneously improving their bottom line.
Q. There are other players in this vertical. How do you distinguish yourself from the rest?
One of the core strengths of our team is that we consistently and purposefully listen to and learn from our customers. In fact, our shift to expand from exclusively offering marketplace services to developing a complete software solution was a direct result of feedback from our clients. For example, in cultivating our relationships with enterprise parking lots, we discovered that many operators were experiencing the same problems. We learned that parking operators and business owners often juggle three or four different services when managing their parking. It’s not only time-consuming to learn how to navigate multiple tools and interfaces, it’s inefficient when it comes to data. We looked at some of the top services that our customers were using and decided to design a product that addressed as many of those needs as possible within a single platform.
Our product suite is six-fold, but right now due to COVID-19, we’re seeing an urgent need for our features that streamline contactless parking and cashless payments. With Pavemint, the entire transaction can be handled without even rolling down your window. Whether it’s reserving parking in advance through our marketplace, using license plate scanning to check cars in, or paying by scanning a QR code, contactless parking protocols show customers that their safety is a top priority.
Q. As urban mobility develops and changes, how will Pavemint contribute to that progress?
Even as more and more people are using ridesharing services like Lyft and Uber, rates of car ownership remain constant. In many US cities, though, there are more parking spaces than registered cars. So the problem of parking in modern cities isn’t availability. It’s accessibility. At Pavemint, we believe that technology is the key to enhancing parking efficiency. That’s why our products integrate all the individual workflows that go into managing parking while collecting data at every point.
Our software can also be leveraged to improve mobility in the public sector. When we use technology to give drivers access to more parking spaces, people spend less time cruising for a space, and more time supporting local businesses. When we incentivize lot owners to open their parking to the public at a competitive price, we create opportunities to establish green spaces instead of more parking lots. And ultimately, when we combine the power of a city government with the innovation of a tech company, we can implement the kinds of solutions that lead to a healthier, safer, and more connected world.
Q. Are you working on any exciting new features or products?
Not to tip our hand too much, but our engineers are currently working on a tool that will allow businesses to mathematically predict high- and low-traffic trends. This is exciting because it will open up brand new methods of cost-saving through staff reduction and potentially expand revenues via surge pricing.
We have an amazing team at Pavemint with expertise in the parking management industry as well as in media, e-commerce, marketing, and product design. Our team’s rich background and pioneering spirit promise compelling solutions to the unique challenges facing the field. In the coming months and years, Pavemint will continue its trajectory of growth and value.