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Interview with Nick Miller Co-Founder & CEO of ParkingPanda – Part 2

This is Part 2 of my interview with Nick Miller Co-Founder and CEO of ParkingPanda.  Click here for Part 1 and Part 3.  If you did not see my article on ParkingPanda, check it out!

 

Adam: Is there a demographic you are trying to target?

Nick Miller, Co-Founder & CEO

Nick Miller: The thing is that it is parking space as opposed to Airbnb, which is apartments, makes it more broad and widespread. So anyone can use it. Early on we are targeting sports fans. You can use this at the Ravens Game.  I went to a Ravens game on Sunday and I used the service to get a parking spot by the Ravens Game. If I come back, I will do it again. If you have repeat users you have the potential for them to tell their friends and stuff like that. As we move into commuters, it becomes a more broad set of people. So it starts from hardcore fans and grows out from there.

A: I actually went to a concert at Rams Head Live the other night. One of my friends is a Bass Player. I went to the show with another friend and his car got towed. I was like “Oh S#$*! I should have used ParkingPanda!”

NM: Free parking is great, and it can be free or really cheap but you risk getting towed or ticketed. Particularly if you don’t know the law. If it is 2 hour parking, in DC that what it is like. When I was down there for school, there is street parking but it’s all only 1-2 hour parking. It is enforced strictly there. At the same time there are a lot of townhouses there and driveways and stuff like that and the people who live in them actually have permits to park on the streets. So they can park on the street for as long as they want and leave their driveways open to rent to you. So you don’t need to deal with the trouble of the ticket or towing. They don’t tow the cars down there, they boot the cars down there. So you just can’t move it!

A: There are some other parking websites that are kind of similar but they are focused mainly on garages. Do you see yourself competing with them or are you offering a different thing?

NM: There are things like Craigslist, but there are a couple of sites like Parkwize. It will let you reserve in a garage before you ever go out. In some ways we think what we are offering is different. They offer you the ability to reserve a space and know exactly where you are going. We also offer the ability to save you money and to avoid the traffic associated with the garage or the parking lot, and the idea it is peer-to-peer so you are supporting your community. Someone can be renting you driveway when you are renting someone else’s. So it is like back and forth community.

A: Do you see ParkingPanda really catching on? Maybe become like… Zipcar or something like that?

NM: We hope so! We think there is a big enough market and a big enough need for it. If you look around lately the sort of peer-to-peer community model, a company like Airbnb where you are renting out someone’s room in their apartment as a hotel, that company is now worth over a billion dollars!

A: Oh wow! I did not know that!

NM: Then there are the car sharing services like ZipCar and RelayRides, where you are renting your neighbor’s car. Those are catching on and starting to do really well, so right now is a great time. People really see the value of earning a little extra cash with their assets and with helping out the community in general. If people are willing to let you share their car, I feel like there are people who are certainly willing to let you use their driveway. You have to be confident in letting someone get behind the wheel of your car, but your driveway…there is a pretty low barrier to entry there.

A: You need to trust someone to use Airbnb, for staying at your place. I personally have never used Airbnb, but I have used Couchsurfing before. I am sure you have heard of that!

NM: I have Couchsurfed myself as well.

A: I actually told my mom about ParkingPanda and she was like, “We should use that!”

NM: That person may not be willing to Couchsurf, but your driveway is so much easier.

A: So you used to work for LivingSocial? Can you tell me about that?

NM: Back when I was in Georgetown I started at LivingSocial as an intern one summer, and I started there when it was about 15 people. It was still a Facebook application developer. I was there during the shift of developing Facebook applications into the local commerce and group deal space. They were already working toward the local commerce space, but I was there when the company grew very quickly. When I graduated from Georgetown, I almost stayed but I was planning on going to Grad School in NY. I left to go to grad school in NY, I ended up deciding I did not like the program I was going to go to, so I went to work for another start-up in NY.

A: What was the company?

NM: That was called GroupCommerce.

A: What do they do?

NM: They are similar to LivingSocial as they are in group commerce and local deal space. They are not consumer focused like LivingSocial is. They provide the technology for newspapers and publishers. For example the New-York Times has a group deal program, and GroupCommerce provides the infrastructure to support that. So I worked for them to develop that structure, then left to start ParkingPanda.

 

Click here for Part 1 and Part 3.

 

West to East in the Beast: Day 2 St. George to Green River, Utah

 

Amazing!

Today I got started late… really late.  I did not get on the road until around 2pm.  I stayed up late the night before writing and talking.  Probably should have gone to sleep earlier.  Will get an early start tomorrow driving into Denver.

You would think driving through Utah would be boring… it’s not.  I saw some of the most amazing scenery driving on I-70 today.  I hope some of my pictures can capture the essence of how great some of the mountains and scenes are in Utah.  It’s truly amazing.  It makes we want to come back and explore.

Some parts of I-70 you will drive and see no other cars, from either direction.  It’s nice because it made it easy for me to stop and take pictures and videos.   If you want to fumble around in your car for things, you don’t need to worry about hitting another car.  Of course you still might have an accident.  There were some passes today going along where you had to slow down.  If the sign said “45 mph” you better be close to that.  I am sure you probably know why I am suggesting that.

Today I only drove a little over 300 miles from St. George to Green River, Utah.  Tomorrow I will make it into Denver which is about another 300 miles.  I hear driving into Denver is beautiful but harrowing going through the Mountain passes.  I will be excited to explore Denver and see what it has to offer and see what tomorrow brings.