We’ve all experienced it. The feeling of frustration after driving around the same 5 blocks looking for a parking spot, desperately hoping a car leaves soon so you’re not late to your internship. Imagine arriving to your destination, summoning a parking attendant with the tap of an app, handing your car off, and having it brought back to you once you’re ready. This is ZIRX. Launched in June 2014, ZIRX is an on-demand parking service that is transforming the way city dwellers deal with parking.
How exactly does it work, you may ask? Using the ZIRX app, you request a parking agent by simply indicating your location. Once the agent has arrived, you hand then your keys and they take care of the hassle of looking for parking. Once you’re ready to go, you indicate your location once again, give the agent your unique code, and you’re on your way. We recently had the opportunity to interview Sean Behr, the CEO and co-founder of ZIRX. To learn more about the app and the idea behind it, continue reading below!
HC: Where did the idea of an on-demand parking service come from? Why the name ZIRX?
SB: When we created ZIRX, we wanted to solve a problem that people faced every day, and a problem that we also felt ourselves. Parking is a problem that didn’t have the aid of technology to improve it yet and we saw a great opportunity to make a lot of people’s lives easier and better. Early on working on ZIRX, we wanted people to feel like a “Star” when they parked and worked with ZIRX. And, “zirka” means “star” in Ukranian.
HC: How was ZIRX initially received by San Francisco?
SB: San Francisco was a great market for us to launch ZIRX because parking is a nightmare in this city. There is also good amount of early adopters here thanks to the proximity to the Silicon Valley.
HC: ZIRX has recently launched in Los Angeles. How has it been received by the public?
SB: Los Angeles has been a very exciting market for ZIRX, and we are thrilled to be here. Parking is a terrible issue throughout the city, which makes it a great place for us to be operating in. It’s been our fastest growing city to date. ZIRX is operating in Downtown, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and Westwood with plans to continue expanding west.
HC: How has your previous experience with startups helped with ZIRX?
SB: I had the pleasure of working at both Shopping.com and Adap.tv prior to starting ZIRX. Shopping.com was acquired by Ebay for $600M, and Adap.tv was acquired by AOL for $425M. At Shopping.com, I had 7 different job titles, and at Adap.tv, I had 9, with my last being SVP of Global Operations. My numerous roles with both Shopping.com and Adap.tv afforded me the opportunities to become the versatile executive.
HC: With many transportation oriented services on the rise, such as Uber and Lyft, how do you think the service sector is changing? Where do you see it going?
SB: Where there are problems, there are opportunities. The barrier to entry has never been lower, but the barrier to success is very high. It’s easy to build the app, but then we need to retrieve and deliver cars quickly. I think we will see many companies attempt to identify and solve problems, but only a handful will do so successfully.
HC: ZIRX has recently added many service features such as car washes and tank fill-ups. Where do you see the company going in 5 years?
SB: ZIRX will continue to strive to make urban car ownership a whole lot easier. Parking with us will get you in the door to access our suite of services such as car washes, oil changes, refuel/recharges, routine services, and many more exciting in-app services to come!
HC: What is the number one advice you would give to young entrepreneurs?
SB: I have two pieces of advice I’d like to extend to young entrepreneurs:
1) Dive in and start something. Regardless to the outcome, you will learn so much during the process.
2) Focus on your customers. Take care of each customer and strive to give them a great experience — the rest will fall into place.
Download the ZIRX app here and use the promo code “GOBRUINS” for a 3 day parking pass!