Recent weeks have turned the world of work and business on its head, and now the issues of work travel, remote working and the daily commute’s role in air pollution have become more pertinent than ever. In the latest in our series of remote interviews, we sit down with ParkOffice COO, Jason Popplewell, to talk about the benefits of ParkOffice software and how he thinks businesses will adapt in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic. Check out the full interview in the video above, and don’t forget to subscribe to our Business Leader series for more industry-leading insights!
Kicking off our remote interview, Jason takes us on a brief walkthrough of his own background, professional journey and the path which led him towards a career with ParkOffice. After completing school, Jason took some time out to work a stint in retail before travelling the world. After this amazing experience, he was ready to take his first steps towards professional life. The first step on that journey was a role with Heineken, where Jason worked his way towards a key account management position after a decade with the beer brand.
An AirBnB for Parking
Jason then became involved in a start-up called BarTrader, which he describes as being well-ahead of its time. The website served as a trading platform and wholesalers for the bar and restaurant industry, serving over 10,000 businesses at its peak. The entrepreneur then moved between several successful start-ups, preparing him well for a future consultancy role. “I was driving home from work and I heard a piece about a company that sounded a bit like an Air BnB for parking. All the stock was virtual, and it just sounded great,” he explains.
From that point, Jason approached businesses in Dublin’s St. Stephen’s Green area to make enquiries about spare car parking spaces. However, in many cases, he was told by these companies that they were actually suffering from a shortage of spaces for their own staff. “This was despite the fact that we were looking out the window, with about 20 percent of the carpark being empty. In most cases, those spaces were occupied by people who may have been on holiday, or in meetings,” says Jason. In an attempt to resolve this situation, he built an app.
“ParkOffice is an app which fully automates and allocates parking. It’s been going well, and pre-covid we had around 28 customers around the world. Just before the outbreak, we locked down a deal with Netflix, who are now our biggest customer. There’s a whirlwind story for you,” laugh Jason. But how have recent lockdown restrictions impacted on the business? The entrepreneur highlights that the pandemic has granted them some business. “In some cases, you may have workers with reserved spaces who are now working from home. We’ve won business in cases where businesses want these spaces opened up to workers who may not have previously had them,” he explains.
The Benefits of ParkOffice
But what are the benefits of using parking software solutions like ParkOffice? According to Jason, the benefits are plentiful. “There’s the sustainability angle – you won’t be driving around your city centre all day trying to find a parking space. You can alsom reward people with a parking space if they carpool, which is another benefit for the environment. There’s also less admin, because it does it all for you,” he shares. He also explains that ParkOffice takes away the subjectiveness of the issue, with an algorithm calculating things in a way that is data-driven and fair.
For Jason, software like ParkOffice represents the growth of the proptech industry, allowing workplaces around the world to become smart workplaces. “A lot of people are hot-desking now, and banks are on a mission to encourage their workers to work from home – and this was before Covid. However, companies will also want to reduce their real estate in the same scale. So, smart companies will be able to allocate desks, parking spaces and everything in-between,” he adds.
But what comes next for ParkOffice? “What we’re going to do now is look for continued investment. It will be slower, but I think that it will start to pick up. I don’t see it getting back to where it was until at least the first or second quarter of next year.”
*Those wishing to learn more about workplace parking solutions with ParkOffice can visit the official website.*
At ProfileTree, we have been providing all of our followers with various resources on adapting to the Covid-19 pandemic, and lots of this useful information can be found in our award-winning Business Leader series on YouTube. To pitch your business to the series, to offer your advice on adapting to the pandemic or to discover how content marketing can unlock the true potential of your online business, get in touch with our expert team today.