An inspector issues a parking ticket on Hillel Street..
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Like so many people looking to get ahead in the world, Cellopark, Israel’s first cellular parking app, sees higher education as the route to success.
The company is laying the groundwork for international expansion by focusing on universities, which it hopes will help attract the eyes of municipalities looking to modernize their parking payment infrastructure.
“That’s the main problem in this market. You take some municipality like Rome or Paris, and they don’t want to do it until they see for themselves that it’s working,” Cellopark CEO Guy Selok told The Jerusalem Post.
The company began its international expansion in Australia, where it won contracts with Australian National University, Curtin University and Melbourne Polytechnic.
Universities, explained Selok, are ideal locations for introducing an app-based payment service, because they cater to a specific group of people in a limited area. Winning contracts at universities also tends to be less onerous than in municipalities, which have more entrenched and difficult bureaucracies. Some of the schools rely on Cellopark as their sole means of parking payment.
All in all, the company is providing service to upwards of 15,000 people for each university. But the big fish remain the city councils and municipalities, and the university-first strategy has begun to pay off.
Cellopark has begun offering services in Fremantle, Canada Bay, Darwin, and Wollongong, whose combined populations total more than half a million people.
Now, the company is setting its sights on Europe and the US, and is once again starting with universities.
“There’s no reason that a student in Europe or the US would have to deal with a meter,” said Selok.
Hospitals and private parking lots offer inroads as well.
Competition is fierce. Philadelphia, for example, signed up Cellopark’s competitor Pango, which has headquarters in Israel.
Foreign competitors include Parkwhiz and SpotHero, which let drivers book parking spots in advance, and Parking Panda, which has focused on stadiums and sporting events.
To keep up, Cellopark has recently redesigned its app, offering features such as multiple profiles to pay for different cars, timers to track how long customers have been parked, and parking history to quickly review past transactions.