Do you dread waiting in line for your car at the valet? Do you wish you could pay a little extra to jump the line? Do you feel like a jerk when you don’t have cash to tip the valet? Yeah, we do too. And so did the creator of 2 Minute Valet: a convenient and cashless way to summon your car.
We caught up with founder/CEO Angela Martin to get the inside on scoop on the inspiration behind this innovative new app.
Number of Employees:
Angela L. Martin (pictured above): Founder / CEO (14 years in software and technology sales)
Dan Zauber: CTO at Choose.It (five years database management NPG and two years with Obama for America)
Dawn Van Sloun: COO (15 years Senior Analysis Bank of the West)
Robert Montgomery: VP of Business Development (17 years in technology sales)
Funding or bootstrapped:
How’d you get the idea for it?
I was at JCT Kitchen and wanted to tip the valet, but I only had my driver’s license, AMEX, lipstick and a condom. So, I gave the valet a condom. He laughed and said, “Looks like I’m going to have a better night than you.” And he probably did. I left JCT thinking there has to be a more efficient way to tip valets. A few weeks after I was left giving a valet a condom in lieu of a tip, I was waiting in the valet line with my date at Hal’s. It was a Tinder date that didn’t go well, no chemistry. As we were waiting in line, the date became increasingly awkward. That’s when I thought, “If I just could have queued my car before I got in line.” These two incidents provided the genesis to my idea: 2 Minute Valet a convenient and cashless way to summon your car.
Who are your customers and what do they get?
My customers are valet companies who service restaurants, bars, malls, casinos, arenas, hospitals and airports. Valet operators can now track employee whereabouts, valet tickets and vehicles. Operations can receive dynamic reporting metrics at no additional charge. The app is free for car owners.
Who are your competitors and how do you stand out?
My competitors use SMS messaging to notify customers their car is en route for pick-up, but do not give users the ability to pay and tip within the app. Whilst we use push notifications and GPS. Additionally, my competition comes from companies that use point-of-sale terminals and other equipment that can require investments of more than $40,000. We utilize lot attendants’ existing smartphones. And most important, we differ with execution. My primary competitor has a much-vaunted mobile app, but has failed to deliver.
It is subscription -based with a volume discount pricing. We offer a basic and an unlimited pricing model. We will also include in-app advertisement to offset the cost of transaction fees, and the option of using bitcoins for payment.
How does ATL weave into your story?
Atlanta plays an integral role in my story and in my success for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, compared to what I have experienced in other cities, the startup resources available in Atlanta are unparalleled, especially for women entrepreneurs. Second, Atlanta has the most valet stands per capita in the United States. Third, Atlanta is home to valet companies with operations across the nation. Lastly, Atlanta is migrating from a free valet system to a fee (plus tip) valet system. We are hitting the market at the perfect time, when industry demands require a change in the end-user’s habits, in an area where there will be an adjustment to a fee/tip valet system, and at a point where increasingly, people don’t carry cash.
Do you use any tools & services to manage your day-to-day?
My team uses Google Apps to manage the day to day business and Trello for project management.
If you could have one mulligan (do-over) in the process of launching and running this startup what would it be?
When I first launched, it was with a team a strangers from Startup Weekend. Although they were great guys, we weren’t able to come together as a cohesive team and we quickly imploded; they were short-term focused and not forward thinking from a tech marketing perspective. In hindsight, I wish I would have a team with a shared vision from the get-go.
What kind of mentor could you use the most right now?
Someone who is an experienced venture capitalist and has connections within the metro Atlanta area.
Is there anything else you need (that money can’t buy)?
For this Q&A to be reposted on TechCrunch, and be seen by the right financial partner.
About the Author: Ryan is a well traveled Atlanta native, sunshine addict, and startup enthusiast. Lover of people, tacos, and lemonade. Professional busy bee.
[Photo Credit: http://www.thebenjamin.com/imgs/specials/Valet-Stay.jpg]