Nick Austin (pictured right) had a successful career in finance, first designing integrated portfolio management products at CBA and then moving into portfolio management and investing.
Then he decided to take some time off to explore an area he had been growing interest in for a while – collaborative consumption – the cultural and economic trend sweeping the globe thanks to fast-growth tech companies like Airbnb and Uber.
“I was fascinated by the concept of people working together to solve broader community issues, and the way that innovative technology was being used to drive this kind of collaboration,” Nick told Anthill.
“Having worked in the city for most of my life, finding parking was a daily frustration. What I found most annoying was that there was so much off-street parking available that no one could access, and at the end of 2011, I decided to found Divvy Parking as a solution to that,” he further shared.
How exactly is Divvy solving the problem of city parking?
For those of us working in high density urban areas, finding suitable on-street parking can be almost impossible. Sometimes, after missing several parking spaces by a whisker, it starts to feel like the entire universe is conspiring against you!
And the alternatives are not really that friendly to our wallets.
On top of that, parking fines continue to rise and research shows that parking issues contribute up to 30 per cent of congestion in cities.
The problem is that the parking strategies that are currently being implemented are focused on on-street parking, ignoring the thousands of privately owned spaces that sit empty every day and hidden from commuters travelling to those areas.
Approximately 10 per cent of parking bays in CBD commercial buildings sit empty every day, not to mention a huge number of spaces in residential buildings and retail centres around transport hubs and business districts. Yep, you drive past nice parking spaces everyday…
Divvy provides a solution to this problem by using smart technology to unlock access to these hidden assets, enabling these spaces to be rented out to commuters looking for convenient and affordable monthly parking (up to 50 per cent cheaper).
It is the first and only solution in Australia that handles bookings, payments, swipe card exchange, bonds, reporting and parking portfolio management in one solution.
Those with a vacant car space are able to lease it to Divvy Parking, allowing them reel in some good bucks from a space that would otherwise go to waste.
What has Divvy achieved so far?
The Divvy team has already booked 250,000 parking days to date and is growing fast.
They engaged a number of software companies including Blue Chilli and built a great team through networking with passionate people in the tech space – they now have their own IT team with some very talented people, including the ex-head of R&D for Microsoft.
They were awarded as one of e27’s Top 10 Most Promising Tech Start-ups in Australia, selected to attend the Top 50 Start-ups in Asia e27 Conference in Singapore and were also finalists in the Leo Burnett Most Promising Start-up Awards.
Furthermore, earlier this year, Divvy closed out a $350,000 seed funding round and is already in discussions with several high profile individual investors and strategic partners about a current Series A capital raising.
Nick revealed to Anthill that they are now working closely with leading property companies, industry experts, and technology firms in their mission to change the way we think about commuter parking in cities and unlock potential for both drivers and property owners.
“We see Divvy as an important part of the Smart City solution, improving the way cities work though innovative technology and a more connected community,” he said.