Now that Airbnb and Uber have dramatically changed the markets for providing rides and temporary space, it’s natural that we’re seeing variants of their models being applied in other spaces. Parking seems like a natural place, since there is plenty of unused inventory in urban cities. There have been a few attempts at the space in the U.S. through companies like Parking Panda.
A Swiss startup called Parku is also attacking the concept. Because their local market is so expensive and supply-constrained, they believe they have a good chance at making this idea work.
Co-founder Christian Oldendorff says there are as many as 250,000 privately registered cars that roll around Zurich every day. Even though there are 220,000 private parking spaces available, only 50,000 or so are freely available. On-street parking is almost fully occupied while the cost of renting a parking space per month can range from 250 to 1,000 Swiss francs every month ($273 to 1095). It’s a lot more than what you would find in a city like San Francisco, where parking spots in coveted neighborhoods range from $200 to $300 a month.
Like with U.S.-based rivals, you can book spaces on the website or through a mobile app for certain days and hours. They’re hoping to scale up to 400-800 parking spaces soon within Zurich, and then expand more broadly within Europe.
Because parking is so expensive locally in Switzerland, even as few as 350 parking spaces could produce a revenue run-rate of more than 1.3 million Swiss francs ($1.4 million) a year, the company says.
In the U.S., Parking Panda has worked with garages in 73 U.S. cities to offer up to 10,000 parking spaces.
Another earlier company, Hello Parking, shut down in 2011 after running into issues with scaling up inventory. That company ran into issues signing up huge garages, which had owners that were reluctant to dramatically increase local supply and drive down prices. Oldendorff says it’s too early to see if his company will run into the same dynamic in Europe.