Thursday, November 22, 2012

SmarkIt Market Opportunity

Our project is the startup company called "SmarkIt".  SmarkIt is an intelligent parking solution service that will be marketed in East coast states with cities that have population greater than 100,000 people; there are 67 cities that fit these criteria. It isn’t practical to try and target 67 cities on startup so we have decided to target one or more of these four cities.
Boston, MA (population approximately 625K)
Bridgeport, CT (population approximately 145K)
Cambridge, MA (population approximately 106K)
Providence, RI (population approximately 178K)
For this blog, I’ll focus on Boston.  Boston has about 625K people and the city of Boston has about 7,500 meters throughout the city are active Monday through Saturday 8am to 6pm.   The on-street parking is preferred over garage parking for convenience as well as the cost.  Therefore, it is reasonable to assume the demand would be all of the available meters.
The “addressable demand” is the total market opportunity for our company, which takes into consideration the customer, competitors and substitutions (like public transportation or bicycles). There are over 120 parking garages in the city of Boston.  The rates are substantially greater than the on-street parking which is part of what drives the demand for the on-street parking.  There are about 2,800 bike parking spaces and more are planned.  The city of Boston is piloting meters that take credit and debit cards in addition to quarters on four streets: Cambridge Street, Union Street, New Chardon Street, and Devonshire Street.  They also have some pay and display meters that require the customer to get a receipt and put it in the window of their car.  This indicates that a significant portion of the 7,500 meters would be addressable with our product. 
The viable market takes into account our constraints on human resources, expertise, technology, or other resource.  Given this is a startup, we will be limited on many resources and will opt to phase the program in starting with QR codes on the meters. Additional details will not be added here, as this blog is available publicly.
The winnable market, in our opinion will be what we believe the city of Boston would be willing to pilot with us.  We will propose a trial that would be reasonable to learn and pivot – perhaps 100 to 200 meters.  Once it is successful and robust we’ll continue to press for additional meters.  The goal is to get our foot in the door and show the ease of use and benefits for both the city and the customer and later propose the smart meters that will allow for reservations and dynamic pricing.

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