Pied Parker with some of their supporters at the Entrepreneur’s Lounge MeatUp 11 at SXSW

By Laura Lorek
Publisher of Silicon Hills News

As a sophomore at the University of Texas at Austin, Mason Hunt founded a parking mobile app called ParXit designed to let people rent out their driveways to people needing parking.

ParXit officially launched in December of 2015 and gained a lot of traction in the Austin community, Hunt said.

A year ago, Hunt merged ParXit with Palo Alto-based Pied Parker, a California app working to become the Airbnb of driveway parking that was also founded in 2015.

“They are bringing Silicon Valley and Silicon Hills together,” said Barbara Kelso, an advisor to Pied Parker.

At South by Southwest, Pied Parker is making a big splash with the debut of its mobile phone app, which launches later this month. It sponsored the popular 11th Annual Entrepreneurs Lounge MeatUp 11 at Fogo de Chão along with J.P. Morgan, Atlassian, Alberta Innovates, Pillsbury, CBRE, Spry and Red Velvet Events. The MeatUp, which took place in the evenings Friday through Monday, is one of the favorite networking spots for Austin and out of town entrepreneurs, Venture Capitalists, innovators, corporate executives, and more during SXSW.

As Chief Marketing Officer for Pied Parker, Hunt saw the Entrepreneurs Lounge as the perfect opportunity to spread the word about the parking app.

“Land is an asset and so is your driveway,” Hunt said.

The Pied Parker mobile app lets landowners and others with driveways and spare parking spaces profit off their assets during events like SXSW, ACL and Texas football games, he said.

Parking at SXSW can cost as much as $80 for 24 hours to park in a dirt lot near the convention center or $100 valet parking at some hotels. And even when big events aren’t going on in Austin, affordable parking in Austin is tough to come by.

“We want to get our name out there,” said Pied Parker’s CEO and Co-Founder Gianni Maxemin. The MeatUp was the perfect opportunity to reach as many high-profile people as possible in one place during the madness of SXSW, he said.

While Pied Parker’s original mission started out as a way for people to rent out their driveways and earn extra cash, its scope has broadened, Maxemin said. Today, Pied Parker is seeking to become the one app people use to find parking anywhere, he said. The app connects people with vacant parking spaces in driveways, assigned office spots, underused parking garages and commercial spaces. The app lets people schedule parking and it has built-in artificial intelligence that can learn from user behavior to automate the parking process, he said.

“The mission of Pied Parker is to bring drivers and space owners together within a virtual marketplace to ease parking demand and promote passive revenue while reducing traffic and pollution,” Maxemin said.

Pied Parker also has 11 patents pending to protect its technology, which is a bit different than some other mobile app startups, Maxemin said. Pied Parker has five employees in Austin and is about to close on its seed round of $1 million.