Parking Insider is smart app with a mobile wallet expressly dedicated to enabling its users to quickly and seamlessly pay for parking spots — by the minute.
The app — cobbled together last night at TechCrunch Berlin’s 24-hour hackathon — also invites users to earn free minutes of parking by snapping pictures of free parking spaces, photos that it will use to create a heat map that enables others users to find open parking spots.
It’s the second go at this idea by two of Parking Insider’s three creators. Shruti Kuber (pictured above) and Advait Kumar are both getting their master’s degrees in embedded systems at the Technical University of Berlin and met at an earlier hackathon after realizing both want to focus their careers right now around mobility. While they’d zoomed in on making life easier for pedestrians at that earlier event, the two — with the help last night of another computer scientist, Abdul Rehman Liaqat — decided this time to pour their efforts into parking.
Parking Insider is limited to Berlin right now. It’s also limited currently to working with the APIs of Deutsche Bank and Daimler, two sponsors of the hackathon. In short, to use the app, you’d need to be a Deutsche banking client, which would enable you to set up a prepaid account that automatically renews every month (and track your payment history). You’d also need to drive a Mercedes-Benz, Smart car or other Daimler vehicle. But Kuber says the team has every intention of seeking out partnerships with other banks and car companies.
The outfit has plenty of competition, of course. Cities are introducing their own remote-pay parking apps (though they don’t always work so well). There are a number of startups already focused on the issue, too, including ParkNow. Another related company, PaybyPhone, was acquired last year by Volkswagen for undisclosed terms.
None seems to be much of a deterrent to the team. “We do see expanding into other brands and cities,” say Kuber. “We’re taking this seriously.”
You can catch the group’s pitch here: