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Tech News & Podcast | Africa

Meet Philip Ogunnaike, entrepreneur building ‘airbnb’ for car parking

Meet Philip Ogunnaike, entrepreneur building ‘airbnb’ for car parking

Driving on the busy road of Lagos and seeing the terrible traffic caused by cars that were parked by the roadside by people who were attending a wedding party. Philip Ogunnaike thought ‘What if’ these cars could get a convenient and safe place to park for N300 around their desired locations.

Ogunnaike, with over 10 years of experience in Business Development, Engineering and Operations Management, saw this problem of circling endlessly in search of a parking spot contributing to traffic and environmental woes and built the Parkwell platform.

Parkwell known as the ‘Airbnb for parking’ is transforming the mobility space with technology and changing the way drivers access parking spaces, making it easier and more convenient than ever before.

He said “Our app allows users to effortlessly locate, reserve, and pay for parking spaces from the comfort of their homes or while on the go. With just a few taps on their smartphones, users can navigate the labyrinth of urban streets to secure a parking spot ahead of time, saving them precious time and energy.”

“By allowing users to reserve and pay digitally, the app reduces the need for physical cash transactions, contributing to a more seamless and secure parking experience,” he said.

When asked how the Parkwell app works, Ogunnaike said it works as an e-hailing platform and Airbnb. The mobile app interface displays a map of your current area and available parking spots. It also allows you to book spots ahead of time. Like Airbnb, you see pictures of the car park, rates charged and reviews.

“Reviews are important to the platform because of its Airbnb element. This means that people with parking spaces in their homes or offices can make some money by registering it as a parking spot on Parkwell.”

“Like e-hailing solutions, Parkwell has two platforms, one for users looking for parking spots and another for people who want to register their parking spaces on the platform,” he said.

According to him, the platform for registering a space is called the Parkwell Partner. To be a Parkwell partner, you take a picture of the parking space you want to register, enter the address and lock it in with the platform’s GPS.

After this, Parkwell visits the space to verify that the person who registered the place owns it and that it meets Parkwell’s security standards.

“The certification process is a crucial aspect of Parkwell’s service. Each parking facility undergoes a rigorous evaluation to ensure it meets the highest quality standards. This includes factors such as security, cleanliness, accessibility, and customer service. By upholding these standards,” he said.

On how the company makes money, he said “Parkwell makes money by charging a commission of up to 30 percent per parking. We reach an agreement with parking facility owners regarding the percentage that will be charged on each vehicle parked through the platform.”

Ogunnaike who is the CEO said that because of the nature of our service “We are keen on safety, that is why we partnered with Curacel Nigerian-based insurance startup that provides per-minute comprehensive insurance for users. It also has an identity verification system that ensures a vehicle can only be picked up by whoever parked it.”

Parkwell has also partnered with Interswitch to provide seamless payment options and Shuttlers to drive the park-and-shuttle initiative.

“All for the purpose of reducing the number of vehicles on our roads, car generated emissions and the carbon footprint to the barest possible minimum,” he said.

Responding on how the company has grown over time. He said, “We are just a year and our staff base has grown to eight persons that oversee the business operation.”

“So far our user base is over 5,000 and we have registered 80 parking lots with over 2,000 parking spaces in Lagos, Nigeria and Dakar, Senegal where solutions like Parkwell aren’t very common,” he said.

However, the company’s competitors are few because of the kind of service it offers, and not many drivers are aware of its operations.

Ogunnaike said, “Getting drivers to use and understand the process of our solution in Africa is something that has been a big challenge for the startup.”

“Currently, we operate in Lagos, USA, and Senegal and we are in the final stages of expanding to Cameroun and Kenya,” he said.

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