Meet the Real Estate Tech Founder: Garret Flower from ParkOffice
In our latest real estate tech entrepreneur interview, we’re speaking with Garret Flower from ParkOffice.
Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Garret Flower, I’m the co-founder and CEO of ParkOffice – the parking software for smart offices. I’ve been an entrepreneur for almost as long as I can remember. I started my first business at 15 and have progressively been getting more and more ambitious ever since.
Currently I split my time between New York City and Dublin where I’m managing the rapid growth of ParkOffice in both Europe and the US. We started out a couple of years ago with ParkOffice with a very simple concept – employee parking was broken and we wanted to fix it.
Our progress in such a short space of time has been really energising, we’ve developed an industry leading product which is trusted by 6 Fortune 500s and countless SMEs in 13 countries across the globe.
What problem does your product/service solve?
Office parking is dysfunctional on so many levels.
The end experience is often incredibly frustrating as employees arrive at offices to find parking lots unexpectedly full or worse, they pay for parking off-site and walk to the office through a half-empty car park.
The management experience isn’t much better, facilities managers often complain that managing parking is the most time intensive part of their job and that no matter how hard you try you will still be inundated with complaints from disgruntled employees.
From a community perspective, according to research from UCLA, every time someone sits into a car and doesn’t know if they have a space at work or not, they will spend an extra 800m cruising at their destination looking for somewhere to park. This causes massive traffic issues in neighbourhoods close to large offices.
ParkOffice gives a fully automated solution which allows companies to solve all these problems while also reducing costs and carbon emissions in the process.
What are you most excited about right now?
When you look at the figures there is almost as much space in the USA dedicated to office parking as there is to office buildings. However, in most cases, it is a massively under-utilized piece of real estate.
The average company who believes they don’t have enough parking space actually have up to 40% of their parking spaces empty during the working day. This is often caused by people working from home, being off-site at meetings or being on holidays. What a waste of space and money.
In a world where our cities are running out of space, I’m incredibly excited about how technology can be used to park cars more effectively, freeing up whole swathes of space for cities across the world to grow.
We’ve just adapted our product to tackle the issues surrounding COVID-19. Over recent years our key focus has been on supporting companies to reduce their employees car dependency.
With COVID-19 changing the business environment for companies all over the world, we knew we had to innovate to thrive. By altering our product slightly we can now help companies return to the office safely sooner. With public transport a no-go area for many people who are worried about the virus, employee parking is going to be under greater pressure than ever. Our automated solution can monitor parking availability in real-time and assign spaces to those in most need – think of it like hot-desking but for parking spaces. The beauty is that we can increase parking availability by up to 40% for companies.
What’s next for you?
The USA is a massive focus for us – we’ve been lucky to pick up a few big clients over there but we’re opening up a full-time office over there in the next 6 months to accelerate our growth.
What’s a cause you’re passionate about and why?
Racism really angers me. I feel strongly that all people were created equal, and this world is unfortunately structured in a way which disadvantages swathes of people because of their gender and race. As half-American, half-Irish, I’m acutely aware of the disadvantages many of my ancestors had to overcome to lay the foundations for me to thrive. I’m always looking for ways in which I can pave a path for minorities to lay the way for their communities to flourish. It is my job as a CEO and a leader of ParkOffice to encourage an environment of inclusion to learn how to implement policies that will correct this inequality.
Thanks to Garret for sharing his story. If you’d like to connect, find him on LinkedIn here.
We’re constantly looking for great real estate tech entrepreneurs to feature. If that’s you, please read this post — then drop me a line (drew @ geekestatelabs dot com).