Elana Widmann writes for NoCamels.
A year of your life. That’s how much time Israeli company Parko estimates you
will spend looking for parking. Two Israeli entrepreneurs, Tomer Neuner and Itay
David, decided it was about time to solve the parking problem with Parko, a new
mobile application for street parking.
Parko is a community-based mobile
app that automatically identifies parking spots that are about to become
available through a unique algorithm and is able to navigate users to available
for the company came from Neuner’s personal frustrations with city living:
“Living in Tel Aviv is completely awesome except for one thing – parking. The
more you do it, the more you hate it,” he tells NoCamels.
Indeed, in Israel’s
bustling metropolis, it takes on average 24 minutes just to find a parking
The system knows about parking spaces – before they even get
Itay David, the company’s CTO, has designed breakthrough learning
algorithms that use information from nine sensors found in a typical smartphone,
combined with statistical algorithms that learn both from the Parko network and
from each individual user’s habits.
When looking for a spot, Parko’s
unique map has icons for parking spots that will become available and the timing
of when they will become available. Parko sends departing parkers a push
notification asking them to confirm whether or not their spot will become
available. Other parking apps rely on users to remember to notify the system
before leaving their spot. Parko, however, is different. “We make the process
semi-automatic. The person on his way to leave a parking spot doesn’t need to do
anything except confirm what Parko already knows.”
Share your spot and
Parko, which will soon be available on iPhone and Android, also has
incentives to keep users loyal to each other and to the application. “We are
rewarding our users for sharing spots with prizes and real money. There will be
coupons for free coffee, and larger rewards like a free car wash.” The company
already has sponsors that have agreed to provide these prizes. Neuner tells
NoCamels: “Only people that share spots can get spots. It’s about giving and
The company was first unveiled a few weeks ago, when it took
first place out of 80 companies in the Israeli Mobile Challenge by Google. So
far, the company estimates that it already has 3,000-5,000 initial user signups.
Israeli short-term car rental company Car2Go pushed out an email to all
subscribers about Parko and its capabilities.
700,000 cars pass through
Tel Aviv every day
The company is in the middle of closing a seed round of
funding, and seeks to raise $500,000 before launching in the next few weeks in
Tel Aviv. After that, the company plans to expand overseas to Europe and the
United States. “There are 700,000 cars every day in Tel Aviv and 5.5 million
cars every day in Paris. That shows you the potential for our application,” says
The company was officially registered in April of this year after
completing six months in the Gvahim’s accelerator program for new immigrants in
Israel, called The Hive.
NoCamels - Israeli Innovation News