Hello everybody! My name is Benedikt. Today, I would like to tell you more about my path to Continental and about the project I am working on here. For this, I need to go back in time a little bit. In 2013, I was a student of Mechanical Engineering and Business Administration when I decided to visit my friend Stefan Bader over Christmas, who studied at the University of Santa Barbara in California at the time.
Traveling around California for two weeks, we talked a lot about his new business idea that evolved around parking. At the end of the trip, he asked me whether I would want to join the venture and I said yes without giving it second thoughts.
After that, we spent nearly four years of building up a company to which we had no prior experience, trying to maneuver through a constantly changing market and – quite frankly – making many mistakes to learn from. During this time, we had a lot of discussions on how to successfully shape the future of our company Parkpocket and came to the conclusion that we needed a strategic partner in the automotive market to deal with the challenges we were facing.
During that time, we had sparked interest at Continental’s ITS department who saw Parkpocket as the missing part of the puzzle that complemented its portfolio of map and mobility services. Long story short, both parties decided to seize the opportunity of a win-win situation which led to the acquisition of Parkpocket of ITS in September 2017.
Since then, we realize our vision of eradicating the parking challenge and making people’s lives easier within the Continental family.
But what exactly is the problem and how do we solve it?
I guess most people know the situation of just not finding a parking spot in time on a busy day in town, am I right?
We do too, so the idea of taking away the stress and unnecessary cost of parking is what drives us. We want to reduce the negative effects of high traffic volumes caused by inefficient parking that hurts the environment.
By offering automotive and non-automotive customers our digital parking service on and off the street, we allow the consumer to find the most suitable parking spot available. In time, at the lowest price and according to their personal preferences. Whether it is women’s parking, electric vehicle charging or park and ride parking spots, relevant data attributes of our service eradicate the information discrepancy between the consumer and parking operators that currently exist.
We show live availability of parking spots and can predict the availability in the future. With the addition of a payment functionality, we are able to offer our customers an end-to-end parking solution — both for on- and off-street. Find out more in this Video by The Garage.
But the development wouldn’t have been possible without the unique team I am part of.
Besides Stefan Bader, who I mentioned earlier and is now heading Continental’s parking department, Marius Schneider and Karoline Bader have been part of the co-founding team of Parkpocket and are working now in their respective roles in the team as well. I know all of them since I was a little kid and Marius, Stefan and I even went to school together. The level of trust and the connection beyond the professional relationship we have is something unique and has been a success factor in the past.
With a constantly growing team here at ITS, we are fostering this team spirit and I am proud to see how all members of the team identify with each other and work together to come up with the best possible outcome.
Coming from a startup, how is it different to work for Continental, a globally operating company?
I have worked in both worlds now and – from my perspective – both has advantages and drawbacks. Of course nowadays, decisions have to be aligned with more people than previously. But being part of Continental as a bigger organization has taught me a great deal. The fact that I am surrounded by experienced colleagues that I can learn from on a daily basis is of immense value. We are also still exploring and discovering new opportunities and synergies within Continental that we would have never thought where possible.
All in all, I am 100% percent convinced that joining Continental was the right decision and I feel 100% confident that we are prepared to overcome future obstacles and continue to be even more successful in the future.