Dhananjay Rathore, co-founder of Parkwheels, on his Hot 100: Race to Grace winning startup that offers optimal parking solutions through technology. By Pooja Paryani
If Dhananjay Rathore and Sumit Jain had their way, vehicle owners would be zipping in and out of parking areas across the country without having to worry about parking fees, driving around to find empty slots and the hunting for the nearest exit. Through their venture Ovunque Innovations Pvt Ltd, the duo have started Parkwheels, which uses automated systems to solve parking problems for malls, corporates, etc with the help of proprietary hardware and software.
Dhananjay is the company’s CEO, and has done his Master’s in Artificial Intelligence from the UK, while Sumit has a BTech in IT. After working together for a few years in startups, they decided to join hands and founded Ovunque Innovations and Parkwheels in December 2015. “ Parking is the first experience that a customer has when he enters a premise, so it ought to be special,” says Dhananjay. “That’s where we come in, we design next generation parking experience for four-wheelers and two-wheelers. “For our B2B clients we help reduce pilferage and excess labour involved in parking, thanks to automation, which we provide. For vehicle owners, we help find the real time status of parking availability, pay parking charges on the go and book all car related service.”
How Parkwheels works
“We have customised hardware, software and mobile apps to provide a complete digital parking service experience. Right now we are at early revenue stage and our clients mainly includes malls, corporate places and other parking zones. We have different product for different places (malls, corporate, etc), keeping our technology backend same. Users get a RFID (radio frequency identification device) sticker for their vehicle, along with a unique identification number and password. The sticker can be interpreted as an Adhaar number for the vehicle. The users log into our mobile or web application with the unique details provided and that’s it. We place RFID sensors at entry and exit points to detect these stickers. The stickers are used for faster movement of vehicles in and out of the premises. This way customers don’t have to waste time standing in a queue. Not only this, an integrated wallet speeds up the process in malls. Moreover, through the app we guide them to the most appropriate parking area, and we even have advanced system where LED lights are placed at each parking slot to guide the customer to the most appropriate location,” says Dhananjay
“Where clients are concerned, we give them a cloud-based software installed in their computers, so they can access the information of vehicles movement inside their premise from anywhere and have remote access. We’ve currently got two malls and two corporate parking premises in Gurgaon on board as clients. Moreover, trials of our system are going on at more than five places. We currently do 75,000 parkings in a month, and will definitely cross the four lakh mark by December as we already have a few big clients who are trying out our product.”
“We charge corporates and malls one-time installation fees, and then they pay annual maintenance charges for hardware and licensing fees for software. The mall parking charges can also be paid through our app so the complete amount is transferred to the owners and we charge the users/client a 5 to 10 per cent convenience fee for using the service.”
“We have more than 2,000 people registered on our Web app, and the figure will just grow,” says Dhananjay. “Our aim is to make that single RFID sticker a way to access to all of our site, pay parking charges, toll, etc. We plan to have 10 parking zones lodged with our technology by September and 30 by December. For now we are focusing on corporate places, malls and other open public places like metros stations. We also plan to expand other cities; Bangalore at the beginning of 2017, as we’ve received a good response there, and then Mumbai and Jaipur. We received angel funding in June, and plan to go in for the second round of funding in November.”