Peazy is Looking to Solve a Problem that Affects Millions of Drivers Daily
Peazy started approaching municipal corporations with an internet based solution that would help connect users to parking attendants directly.
Kolkata-based Peazy was started with the vision of providing live parking availability information from every parking lot in India. With parking data from both public and private parking lots aggregated on one platform, users would be able to locate the nearest available parking spot on their phone. There was only one problem. Parking data, in India, is next to non-existent, due primarily to the lack of physical parking infrastructures like parking meters, sensors and cameras. Local municipalities, which control a majority of the parking market, are cash-strapped meaning they can ill afford to deploy the requisite hardware. Private players find infrastructure projects unviable in parking due to the low parking prices in India, which incidentally happen to be some of the lowest in the world. However, as far as drivers are concerned, the parking problem continues to get worse. The top 6 metros of India have over 5 million private four wheelers and growing steadily, but less than 2000 public parking lots to cater to the demand. A study by IBM suggests that motorists in metros can spend up to 10-15 minutes ‘cruising' looking for a parking spot. This, in turn, can contribute to up to 30% of a city's traffic congestion.
Peazy started approaching municipal corporations with an internet based solution that would help connect users to parking attendants directly. A lot of the trouble that parking attendants cause for motorists today, like overcharging and illegal parking, is due to the fact that they are poorly paid. They often overcharge customers simply to hit their daily collections target and then make some extra money to make ends meet. The monthly salary of a parking attendant in Kolkata can range anywhere between Rs. 5,000-10,000. No wonder then that they are reliant on additional income to support their families. Peazy was hoping to address this issue by charging a premium to customers for ‘Confirmed Availability’ and ensure most of the proceeds go to the parking attendants.
Municipal Corporations take the time to change. In most cases, a change to the city's parking policy is needed, and that takes a lot of time. For example, Mumbai very recently passed a new parking policy. The policy had been in the works for the better part of five years. In its final form, it was first taken up by the Corporation in early 2015 and was finally passed for implementation in late 2016. Even at this stage, the policy is facing resistance from citizens since it entails a rise in parking prices. It's not easy for a large Government body to make a step change like this. It requires political will at a senior level in the Government, along with a conviction that this is the right thing to do. The encouraging sign is that Municipal Corporations across the country are looking to change. NDMC has deployed smart parking in pockets and raised prices. Chandigarh was the latest to join the smart parking bandwagon. Other cities who are planning some form of smart parking are Bangalore, Hyderabad, Bhopal and Ahmedabad. A majority of the smart city aspirants have smart parking on their radar.
There are two main revenue sources of the startup. Firstly, Peazy sells parking data to navigation companies that provide in-car navigation services. Dutch navigation major TomTom was the first customer to buy parking data for six cities from Peazy. Secondly, Peazy intends to provide value added services to its users like Confirmed Availability once the platform has some users.
Now that Peazy has a functional prototype and a proven revenue source they are looking to expand quickly across India. The strength of aggregators is in their width of coverage and not just depth, and Peazy intends to have the best coverage in its operating cities. The raised money will be used to expand coverage and bring more users on board, which in turn will help improve the product.
Peazy is looking to solve a problem that affects millions of drivers daily. The approach is unusual and risky, but it has the ingredients to successfully tackle the parking problem in India. The Indian market is not straightforward, so when you build for India, you build for the world. The approach of using AI seems a viable one because it bypasses both the key challenges that companies face in this sector government control and low prices. Peazy believes that this is the path to the future of parking, and would love to hear from those who agree with them.
Crowdfunding is a great way to reach out to people who are directly affected by the problem you are solving and ask for their help. Your contribution will help them launch the first version of their app, which is still in testing mode and help improve coverage.
Peazy is now amongst the top 32 Catapooolt Changemakers Season 2 and is trying to bring a change in their disruptive idea ‘new age intelligent parking locator’. You too can be a part of their initiative by backing them on - catapooolt.com.
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