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Founder In Focus: Martin Houlden And The Airbnb Of Parking

Have you ever gone to a sporting event or to the theater and spent more on parking than on the entertainment? Ever pulled your hair out looking for a place to park near a transportation hub that didn’t ask for a permit or a month’s salary? Space comes at a premium these days, especially in our crowding cities.




 ParkShare Creator Martin Houlden


ParkShare, much like an Airbnb for parking spaces, lets owners of parking spaces – driveways, garages, e.g. – rent out space to members in the online community. People save a great deal of money on parking while space providers make extra cash. We’ve already accepted the idea of sharing our vehicles and homes as a way to earn extra income and provide a useful service to our neighbors. Why not do the same with that empty, valuable, parking real estate? ParkShare creator Martin Houlden tells us more:


What’s your company about? What do you do? Who are your customers? is designed to help motorists find cheap (or free) parking spaces by using private driveways – a simple concept, which could really help commuters cut the cost of motoring and at the same time give homeowners in congested towns and cities some extra help.




What’s the greatest thing about your company/website? Why is it better than the competition?

It’s a great concept, delivered through a simple-to-use site, that’s cheaper than any other parking website out there.


How’d you come up with the name for your company?

It was pretty easy. It’s about parking, and sharing… hence “ParkShare.”


What was your first computer? How old were you when you first got on the world wide web?

An Amiga 500 – ah, them were the days. I fist got online in about ’94 when I was 21.


When’s the last time you went on vacation and where did you go?

I have a family with two small kids, three businesses and two dogs… What’s a vacation?


When do your best ideas come to you?

Evening, sometimes with a beer.


A lot of people have big ideas. What gave you the confidence to actually go after yours?

Talking to a lot of different people, who all thought it sounded like a great idea.


Remember the early days of starting up? Describe the struggles you went through.

Deciding which framework to develop it on, then ditching all that and using Bootstrap instead when that came out!


How do you handle frustration? What has been your biggest professional frustration?

I take the dogs out on the beach. My biggest source of frustration is having to wait for thing to be done.


What’s your office environment like? Do you listen to music? Watch movies? Play video games?

Neat, radio on in the background occasionally. Generally quiet.


How do you picture your company in 5 years?

Small and perfectly formed.


Who or what inspires YOU? Role models?

The guys from 37Signals for the way they setup their business.




How’d you fund this venture? VC? Self-funding? Crowdfunded?

Self-funded, got the cash from working hard and saving some of it.


Got any great bootstrapping tips for the lean startups out there?

Avoid anything that requires proprietary technology.


What other advice do you have for other entrepreneurs struggling to get started?

Research, then just dive in – but don’t expect to be happy with the first draft.


What would you do if you had a year off and $500,000 to spend (on something other than work)?

Buy some land and build a house.


Do you consider yourself a successful entrepreneur? If not, what’ll make you feel successful?

Sort of, but the ability to take a year off and build a home would nail it too.



ParkShare’s Guardian of Parking Spaces


Top 5 websites you couldn’t live without and why?

  1. Facebook – means us keyboard warriors still stay in touch with friends
  2. BBC news – like to know what’s going on and not have to wait for it on the TV
  3. – like seeing the financial world without the bias you normally get
  4. – manages all my domains and full DNS control too. Very handy
  5. – project management software by 37signals


Top 5 mobile apps you’re in love with and why?

  1. Tweetbot – shows how many new tweets there are since last login
  2. Mail Online – very busy news site
  3. Kindle app – Better range of books than anywhere else
  4. Dropbox – for syncing for work across devices
  5. 1password – for keeping the hundreds of passwords I have and making it simple to have secure logins


What is your music streaming player of choice, and what are you listening to right now?

I just use the BBC service. Radio2 is on at the moment.


Number 1 country you’ve always wanted to visit but haven’t yet? (And why that country?)

New Zealand (because it’s 24hrs away on a plane).


Three people (other than you) we should follow on Twitter and why?

  1. Max Keiser – says it like it is
  2. Nigel Farange – he’s the UK’s anti-politician, politician
  3. ParkShare – because it’s a great site that’s going to save you money


Where else should our readers find you online?


Photo & Video Credits


Author : Keith Liles

Keith Liles is a freelance writer who loves travel, music, wine, hiking, poetry, and just about everything. He practices saying "yes" to life vigorously, rehearsing for the phone call when he's asked to tour with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. Follow Keith on Twitter @KPLiles.

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