ParkZen won a $100,000 investment prize at the culmination of Baton Rouge Entrepreneurship Week on Thursday night: the High-Stakes Pitch Competition.
In this popular annual competition, a handful of innovative local startups pitch their business and potential for growth to a panel of judges, which decides the company that’s most deserving of the investment prize.
ParkZen competed against Cluey Consumer and Falaya for the prize.
ParkZen offers an innovative solution to the age-old problem of finding a parking spot. The ParkZen app uses smart crowdsourcing to track and connect users with available parking — right down to the spot — in their vicinity. The company markets to organizations with heavy traffic and parking needs, like college campuses and shopping malls.
CEO and co-founder Manos Chatzopoulos said he plans to use the investment prize to build out the B2B sales team and improve customer support. The team plans to land 50 enterprise clients by the end of year three and 200 such clients by the end of year five.
Businesses can purchase the solution to provide an enhanced parking experience to students and customers. The app also gathers data that organizations can use to assess and prioritize their parking needs. It relies on an innovative application programming interface to integrate with relevant apps that already have a large user base (like the LSU app).
Chatzopoulos and the ParkZen team are piloting the program on LSU’s campus and have received interest from large private organizations. The team plans to target colleges and universities first. “I can’t wait to hit the road running and get this to every single campus in the southern United States,” Chatzopoulos said.
Cluey helps consumers make responsible choices. The software aggregates data on your favorite brands, giving you a complete picture of each company’s impact on people, the planet and politics — empowering users to shop their values. The platform offers users a customized view of their footprint based on personal shopping habits. The company recently launched its minimum viable product and is pre-revenue.
Falaya is redefining real estate by putting power in the hands of homebuyers and sellers. The platform’s transparent pricing allows consumers to buy and sell their homes without the hidden fees charged by real estate agencies. While other real estate solutions cater to listing convenience, only Falaya provides a full-service solution dedicated to closing the sale. The company is active in Baton Rouge and has generated $180,000 in revenue in the past 18 months.
BREW’s High-Stakes Pitch Competition event awards an investment prize to one promising local startup in Louisiana. The investment prize, managed by Red Stick Angels, comes from a group of Louisiana-based investors.
BREW is hosted each year by Nexus Louisiana, an organization dedicated to growing and developing the Louisiana technology industry. Nexus LA’s mission is to accelerate the growth of high-potential technology-enabled companies by providing them with coaching, capital and connections.