For the latest in our Hoyapreneur series, we are excited to bring you an interview with Nick Miller, former co-founder and CEO of Parking Panda. Nick has been an entrepreneur since the moment he left the Hilltop, using his experience at Georgetown to jumpstart his parking startup. We’ll discuss Parking Panda and Georgetown’s influence on Nick’s passion for entrepreneurship.
1. You started Parking Panda about a year out of school. What was it like jumping into a startup??
It was an incredible experience and learning opportunity. The challenge was a lack of experience in running a business. I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by some excellent mentors and investors that were able to help fill the gaps. However, there were a ton of advantages. I was able to work for myself and put 100% of my energy into building the company with essentially zero overhead. The one exception being rent for a cheap apartment.
2. Assuming you were part of the 80% of students that didn't have a car during our four years, how did you come up with the idea for a parking app?
I did have a car during my senior year, but Georgetown's parking situation played a role in my initial idea for Parking Panda. The company started as a sort of “Airbnb for parking” and the idea for this came from the fact that I saw numerous students let driveways sit empty while they could have easily been renting them to neighbors or visitors.
3. Over the past few years how have you been able to scale Parking Panda?
The most important element of Parking Panda's ability to scale was the team. We were able to recruit and hire some of the most talented employees in the world who were passionate about building a huge platform. Additionally, it was a venture backed startup and that was a huge factor in our ability to scale rapidly from an economic perspective. The unit economics of a parking rental meant that we needed to be doing millions of transactions to make significant money. Raising outside capital facilitated that.
4. What was your favorite class and/or professor during your time on the Hilltop?
I loved my classes and professors at Georgetown. Picking a single favorite is difficult, but I took an upper level comparative politics course on Cuba with professor Mujal-Leon that stands out as particularly memorable.
5. Aside from scaling to different cities across the country, what's next for Parking Panda?
Parking Panda was acquired by SpotHero in April 2017 and the new combined entity raised an additional $30M of funding to continue growth a few months ago.
6. Given you started Parking Panda so shortly after school, how has the entrepreneur alumni network been helpful to you? How can the GEA support you going forward?
At the time I started Parking Panda I wasn't particularly engaged with the GEA. I actually wish I'd been connected earlier as I was seeking experienced mentors to help guide me as I grew the business. Moving forward I'd want to find a way to be engaged regularly to help others build and grow companies as well.