Parking app Parkable boss wants fewer car parks


Kiwi parking app Parkable wants less parking and more green space in Auckland's central business district because of the amount of under-used space.


Parkable allows people to make use of redundant space throughout the city.


Parkable chief executive Toby Littin said 80 per cent of car parks in Auckland were under-used.



"There's some horrible inefficiencies in building parking design and transport designing. If you have 200 car parks but only, say, 120 spaces are utilised, convert the rest of that into green space for the city or usable office space," Littin said.


"We're probably the only car parking company in the world that wants less car parks not more. We want to see people utilise them more effectively," Littin said.


"As a business there is more market than we can ever hope to address, the parking market is massive."


"The point of our business is to optimise the real estate."


Parkable was the winner of the Deloitte Fast 50  Rising Star Award for its exceptional revenue growth.


While Littin supported shared transport models for e-bikes and e-scooters, he said the market for car parks would always remain.


"It doesn't matter what your view of the future is, there's always going to be people who want to own cars and not share them. The pick-up for electric cars and recharging stations is inevitable," he said.


The global smart parking system market was valued at approximately US$3 billion (NZ$4b) in 2017 and is expected to reach US$9b by 2024.


The app launched in mid August 2015 offering 170 parks for the Bledisloe Cup match at Eden Park.


Since then parks have been popping up around the country.


Littin said the three-year-old business had seen growth of 600 per cent in the past year.


The company has partnered with businesses to rent out unused office car parks and also allow carpark sharing between staff.


Parkable is looking to scale its business up, with expansion planned in Australia and China soon, Littin said.


"We like doing business in Australia because of the cultural and business similarities and that makes it a really good place for us to dip our toe in and test our ability to scale across regions," he said.


"Expanding to China seems like an unusual move for a Kiwi company, but we see a good natural fit with the Chinese consumer and our business. We see our tech development being really well aligned to be picked up in China. 


"We think our technology can provide some really good value to the land owner, value to the cities in terms reducing CBD congestion as well as with sustainability initiatives and reducing pollution."


Bike sharing took off in China last year with dozens of bike-share companies cropping up.


But the rapid growth overwhelmed the infrastructure with millions of abandoned bikes flooding city streets. 


Shared parking spaces had also been growing in China's big cities, but Littin said despite competition the market still promised great opportunity.


"We see China as having massive challenges but also massive opportunities. Tier-one cities are more technologically advanced than any other market, that bodes really well for us."


Cities in China are classified by GDP and range from US$350 trillion to US$20b.


Tier-one cities include Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Tianjin.


But Shanghai is the focus for Parkable.


Parkable has also doubled its staff to about 20 in the last 12 months.


* This content is produced as part of an editorial partnership with Deloitte.