parkpocket becomes first GFT investment in startup sector
Thanks to a clever solution to an everyday problem, in March 2015 parkpocket impressed many observers as a CODE_n15 finalist at CeBIT. The solution: find a parking space at any time. At the same time, prices can be compared on the go. “We’re investing in parkpocket because they solve a key problem that millions of people are confronted with every day,” states Ulrich Dietz, CEO of GFT Technologies and initiator of CODE_n. “The business model is quickly scalable. The technology behind the solution and the highly motivated team show that we can expect a lot more to come.”
This is the first time GFT has made a direct investment in a startup. This time the investment is a six-figure number and further investments in aspiring entrepreneurs are expected. The injection of capital will help parkpocket to keep developing their intelligent technologies, bolster the team and pave the way for entrepreneurial growth. GFT boss Dietz will also act as mentor to the smart founders from the Swabian area of Germany. “Smart capital is particularly important to us for the selection of our investors. I’m convinced that we not only have an outstanding investor on board with GFT, they’re also an important business partner and advisor from industry,” states Stefan Bader, founder and CEO of parkpocket, the startup team that has been based in Munich since 2014. To derive full benefit from the know-how of an international company like GFT and leverage its closeness to the automotive industry, it is now setting up its second registered office at the Stuttgart innovation campus CODE_n SPACES.
Now online: the new parkpocket app
As much as 40 per cent of all traffic in German cities is caused by people looking for a place to park their car. The new parkpocket app solves this problem. Users in German-speaking cities are the first to have access to the service, using their mobile devices to quickly and conveniently find a nearby parking space, while also comparing prices. The startup company is working in collaboration with municipal authorities and Europe’s leading car park operators. The app links into their databases and IT systems. Users of the app can also enjoy the benefit of detailed information on each car park, including opening hours, the availability of disabled parking and electric charging stations. The app automatically estimates how long it will take to drive to a given car park and the time needed to walk to the destination. Once a car park has been selected, users can start navigation with a simple tap in the app and proceed with their journey. This makes parking more predictable, meaning users will be much less likely to miss appointments just because they cannot find a nearby parking space. Plans are also underway to launch the app in other European countries soon.
B2B segment set to expand the business model
In Germany alone, the turnover of car park rental companies was around EUR 1.22 billion in 2014. During the same year, 13.9 million drivers used an app for navigation purposes. The startup therefore plans to complement its B2C app with a B2B solution. The parkpocket solution has already been prepared for integration into digital devices and modern services aimed for use with connected cars. The new company has started working in collaboration with major German carmakers and their suppliers to develop tailor-made applications. “The automotive sector is an exciting market that’s entering the biggest period of change for more than a hundred years – digital change offers tremendous potential if you’re a smart company and have an innovative concept,” states Dietz.
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Source GFT technologie