The logo of Fredericton startup HotSpot Parking is about to become very familiar to Haligonians, as the company has won the contract to offer mobile parking services in Halifax.
The four-year-old company — whose radiating parking meter logo is already a fixture in most cities in the region — was named Friday as the provider of mobile parking services to the 3,000-odd parking meters in Halifax. The city-owned meters went live with HotSpot on Monday, and the Waterfront Development Corp. is now working with HotSpot to bring its meters onstream as well.
What this means is that HotSpot now has operations in every city in the Maritimes except Sydney. The company really wants to add Sydney and St. John’s, N.L. to its portfolio so that it can move toward an integrated transportation product for Atlantic Canadian citizens.
“We're excited to provide a Maritime-wide solution launching . . . with Halifax Regional Municipality and Waterfront Development that will allow us to really innovate in the new year,” said CEO Phillip Curley in a Facebook post on Friday. “This support from our neighbours is cherished and we’re happy to rise to the occasion and provide the best parking/mobility solution that can be made.”
HotSpot started in 2013 with technology that allows the remote payment of parking meters. Drivers can feed the meter without interrupting their shopping or meetings. Or merchants can use a cellphone to pay a customer’s parking, rather than have the customer run out of the store to feed the meter and never return.
Curley and his team have advanced their system so it produces invaluable data for businesses.
HotSpot provides its service free to municipalities, and individuals pay $2 a month to use the service. Last winter, the company began to work with the Moncton transport system, so that people could use their phone to pay for the bus as well as feed the parking meter.
Curley is now watching how the service unfolds in Moncton in the hope that existing parking customers will have a convenient way to pay for transit and may take the bus more. It can also collect data to tell transit authorities whether, for example, the buses are going near people’s final destinations.
Curley was unavailable for an interview late last week, but in recent discussions he’s outlined a vision of developing a company that helps Atlantic Canadians with transport issues regardless of which city they’re in. The HotSpot app can now help a Monctonian pay for a bus trip in his or her home town, or pay for parking during a trip to Charlottetown or Fredericton.
One other thing about HotSpot and Curley: This is a CEO who’s not giving a minute’s thought to raising capital. In the past, he’s tapped the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation for $250,000, but now what Curley wants is revenue, revenue, revenue. And with that revenue, he hopes to build out his pan-Atlantic provinces transport product.