Anyone living in the city knows that parking can be a nightmare. Either there are no spaces to be had or the ones that are available are prohibitively expensive. Enter Barking. No, we’re not talking about the amusingly named east London village – we’re talking about one of Estonia’s hottest startups, which can best be described as an Airbnb for cars – with a reach that is expanding.
Sometimes the simplest solutions are the best solutions. In 2015, Kustas Kõiv and his co-founders had a simple idea: Tallinn, their home city, has a lot of private parking lots with various types of gates or barriers. And, like in most cities, it was tricky and/or pricey to park.
Kõiv and his partners noted that there were a lot of centrally located parking lots as well as individual spaces that lay empty at various times of the day and night. Some were employee parking lots serving things like large corporations and government ministries, which emptied at the end of the work day. Others were privately owned spaces that were left empty while people went off to work in another part of the city during the day.
There were also hotel parking lots that seemingly had at least some free spaces round the clock. What the Barking team realised is that any of these parking spaces were an asset that could be rented out just like people rent out their homes on Airbnb.
“To evaluate the idea we called private parking owners in the city center,” explains Kustas Kõiv. “Within 24 hours we had an enormous amount of positive feedback. Three years later, we are going strong and able to give reasonably priced access to thousands of parking spots.”
Reservations are made via the Barking app, which is more or less a one-stop shop for the entire service. The app allows you to search an area, see what’s available, click on the icon on the map, book the space, and the app will even help you navigate to the available space and it is used to open gates and barriers once you arrive.
Today, every twelfth person in Tallinn is using the Barking app – and because you only pay for parking the prices are, on average, 2-3 times less than the average city parking space.
So, the app is working, it’s profitable, parking space owners are earning a bit of extra money, and the Barking team has also expanded into other Estonian cities, as well as Helsinki. The question now is: Where does Tele2 IoT fit into the picture? The answer is as simple as the idea.
Barking technicians install their IoT enabled devices in minutes – and Tele2 IoT ensures the best connectivity in the area. Even better, Barking can handle any problems, including connectivity problems, from the self-service portal Cisco Jasper.
After onboarding a significant customer base in his native city, Kõiv and his team haven’t stopped their innovating with how we park our cars. They have also started closely working with petrol stations and developed the spinoff WWWash, the app that is significantly simplifying the car washing experience, by fully automating it via an app.
“We’ve now taken WWWash to the US – Silicon Valley to be specific,” says Kustas. “We’re providing solutions for local car washes and plan on taking the app across California. It’s the perfect fit for car-mad America.”