Congestion and pollution have hit African cities in a way that is detrimental to the economy and climate. An integrated and efficient transportation system is required if the continent is to progress. In Nairobi, a survey showed that The average time spent searching for a parking space was 32 minutes.
The streets of Dakar, Senegal are no exception. Not only is parking difficult to find, but Cosmopolitan residents resort to parking on perilous sidewalks. After moving to Senegal from the US, CEO Gabriella Marin had a luminous moment after her son nearly crashed into a parked car on the curb. flight engineer I decided to get into the business of creating additional car parks to lighten the sidewalks with licensed empty yards in Dakar.
“Running a parking lot was more difficult than we expected,” Gabe says. “We also quickly realized that no car park operator program is geared towards emerging markets like Senegal.”
The team started by creating a trigger/tracking tool and with that they were able to nearly double their profits because they were able to understand how much traffic they were facing in one parking lot. Today, Parcsmart is building software that not only helps drivers find and reserve a parking space using their smartphone before they reach their destination, but also allows parking operators to manage a lot better.
Parcsmart software users are multifaceted and not just profitable operators who use the product. Private parking operators use the software to manage lots in their hotels and communities. Street parkers use it in informal markets to inform users of available parking spaces on sidewalks, and drivers use the app to reserve parking before they arrive or as soon as they reach their location.
Parcsmart has faced some challenges in spreading its product and knowing the context in which it operates. One of the main realizations was that their users would not be comfortable using the internet and navigating to a website, and sometimes the user might not even be able to read.
“We got the UI right after some trial and error and created a feature where we can take pictures of the car’s tag and the algorithm will decode the tag through computer vision and automatically record it,” says CTO Lamine Ba. “We’ve also reduced the number of buttons you have to click to register a vehicle.”
The vision is to democratize parking and get people to use Parcsmart globally in the cities that need it most. Understanding the market and including many players in their value chain serves Parcsmart well and it is clear that their impact will be enormous.