Anthony Eskinazi, founder of JustPark
by Anthony Eskinazi
My name is Anthony Eskinazi and I am the founder of JustPark. We’re on a mission to take the pain out of parking and make our cities function better in the process. Our app and website connect drivers with spare parking spaces at hotels, pubs, churches and even private driveways.
I grew up in London, where I first realised that parking in cities was a big problem. I studied Maths at Leeds University and the University of California, Berkeley – it was whilst in the USA that I had the idea for JustPark. I was trying to find parking for a baseball match – there were no spaces in the car park but lots of empty driveways outside houses. I realised this was a win-win opportunity for drivers and homeowners, they just needed a way to connect.
Having always had a keen interest in technology and a passion for problem solving, I relished the challenge of setting up a new business model to address the problem of parking in cities. Back in the UK, I taught myself how to code and began building the first version of the JustPark website from scratch, having already picked up some programming knowledge from my father (who is a software engineer).
I started the company at 23, with very little previous business experience, so naturally it was a steep learning curve with tough tests along the way. I ran all aspects of the business myself for 5 years – from website development to customer services – which proved a significant challenge. In the early stages, I was utterly broke and had to take on extra paid work to keep the business afloat – at one point, I was £30,000 in debt.
However, through a combination of hard work, perseverance and confidence in the concept, I achieved a huge breakthrough in 2011 when BMW invested £250,000 – allowing me to hire the first few employees at JustPark. Since then, I have been able to spread the many facets involved in the everyday running of the business across an ever-growing and talented team, allowing me (as Head of Product) to focus on ensuring our product is of the highest quality – and analysing potential future developments to our service. Today, JustPark is backed by Index Ventures alongside BMW, and earlier this year closed a record-breaking £3.7m equity crowdfunding round and won Richard Branson’s ‘Pitch to Rich’ startup competition.
The technology industry is unparalleled in terms of the opportunities on offer for young entrepreneurs with bright new ideas, especially with the number of startup accelerators and funding programmes nowadays. Of course, it isn’t plain sailing – companies such as JustPark are mapping new territory, finding innovative and more efficient ways to do business, and inevitably this presents challenges along the way. However, these challenges are what makes it such an exciting industry to be involved in – the tech world moves rapidly and you will make mistakes, but this is how we learn, progress and improve on our ideas.
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