Fed up with the soul-destroying (and oft-times fruitless) exercise of finding parking near Sydney’s busiest beaches, two enterprising locals have launched an on-demand, peer-to-peer parking app, with the aim being to strike a balance between supply and demand.
Free to download now from App Store, with a release on Google Play to follow, Share with Oscar enables drivers to find affordable parking on-the-go, while providing residents with a flexible way to earn money from their vacant parking spots.
Completely self-funded by co-founders Lisa Qi and Louise Chen, Share to Oscar launched in Bondi and Coogee over the weekend – but they have plans to expand the service into other high-demand areas once they obtain the investment necessary to scale.
According to Chen, while people have drawn parallels between Share with Oscar and sharing economy giant Airbnb, “it’s different in the sense that owners can earn money with virtually no effort. For example, Airbnb involves cleaning, laundry etc. but renting out your driveway just requires you to check out as you’re driving out.”
She spoke to Dynamic Business about Share with Oscar, the first start-up for both co-founders.
What pain-point does it address?
There simply isn’t enough parking for people seeking to visit Sydney’s most popular spots, and in some areas like the CBD parking prices are extortionate! We are aiming to increase the supply of parking spaces for drivers, so they’re able to readily find affordable parking and get on with their day sooner. On the other side of the equation, the app helps local residents to reduce parking congestion in their areas while earning some extra cash.
Depending on the location of the parking spot, residents can charge up to $10 per hour with the average being around $4 an hour. Oscar takes a 15% clip of the ticket for transactions facilitated through the app. Currently, parking at Bondi Beach can be $7.50 an hour, the surrounding streets costs $5 an hour and there are 2-hour restrictions.
How long has it been in development?
We’ve been developing the app since January. A lot of time has been spent on product design, designing the features, testing desirability with customers. To stay ahead of the game, we will be constantly innovating. We have a few big moves up our sleeve, including some exciting features for the next release, so watch this space!
Until recently, Lisa and I were full time-professionals working with large corporations to help them translate the ideas into products and services. Consequently, we’ve only had time on the weekends to develop Share with Oscar, which is why it took as long as it did to launch. Recently, we decided to take a break from work to focus full-time on the app and see where it takes us. Lisa and I have considered several start-up ideas but with Share with Oscar it felt like the right time in our careers and life stage to embark on the start-up adventure.
Why launch the app in Bondi and Coogee?
There were a few reasons. Firstly, this is where the idea was born. Circling around Bondi trying to find parking before giving up and heading along the eastern beaches has been a frequent experience of ours. It was so frustrating and such a waste of time. While the beaches are hard to park near all year round, during summer it’s just about impossible to find a spot within a 30-minute walk from the beach. So, launching at the start of summer is a case of great timing. Bondi and the surrounding beaches also have a fantastic, supportive community. The reception that we’ve had from local residents and business has been really positive.
We plan to expand to high-demand areas like Darlinghurst, Surry Hills, Potts Point, etc. very shortly, before going national – and there’s no reason why we can’t go international.
What is behind the app’s name?
Lisa and I are big advocates of the sharing economy and sharing assets that are under-utilised to create smarter, greener cities, and that’s where the ‘Share’ comes in. We also wanted to imbue the app with a friendly, reliable, trustworthy persona that looks after the community of sharers. We both thought the name ‘Oscar’ fit the bill.