We love web startups, it’s something Tekkek is really passionate about, and Ben Sann’s BestParking is a wonderful example of how a budding entrepreneur can take a little bit of seed capital and turn a great idea in to a profitable business.
BestParking was founded in 2007 as NYCGarages and features detailed information on citywide garages, something that Sann knew would help drivers find the best deals in the just the right spots.
Sann, a 24-year-old graduate of Washington State University, told Entrepreneur that “There are always conversations about great early-bird parking specials and the price of monthly parking or a frenzy to move the car and circle the block for a new parking space.”
Sann realized there wasn’t a centralized database of parking information available for the city, and with that he launched the web startup. With $50,000 in startup funding, that he gathered by saving from his bar mitzvah and getting a loan from his father, the 24-year-old launched the company’s original website.
After only two years Sann had added six cities to the company’s database and rebranded the site as BestParking.
BestParking hired bike messengers to retrieve information about urban parking centers and develop leads which later turned in to valuable business partnerships.
The very first parking operator to partner with Sann was Edison ParkFast, an operator that listed 40 garages in Baltimore, New Jersey, and New York on the site — comprising some 10,000 parking spaces.
Ben Feigenbaum, Edison executive vice president, said, “We couldn’t replicate the services BestParking was offering, so we signed up and went all in … we learned very quickly that it was going to be a successful relationship [and explosive web startup].” Feigenbaum estimated that nearly 30 percent of monthly leads for parking were coming from the parking website.
BestParking also has a free mobile application that recently surpassed half a million downloads and broadened coverage to 55 cities, including 80 airports within the United States and Canada. The app’s interface is a map that displays information on urban garages and allows the user to not only choose a location, but also a time — displaying rates and discounts available with select partners. Best Parking receives a commission on coupons redeemed with special partner codes.
The company has also included street parking information, providing users with data on free, metered, and no parking areas.
Revenue surpassed $500,000 last year, mostly generated by partner coupon commissions, parking contracts, airport parking reservations, and special licensing agreements with select GPS service providers.
By starting off small and building a reputation, Sann’s company has positioned itself as a superior service provider and an invaluable customer lead generation tool for garage operators.
BestParking is one web startup company that entrepreneurs should take note of. A simple, yet solid business plan which lead to the growth of a nationwide business that still continues to grow.
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