Traffic congestion and finding a parking spot have always been a nightmare for vehicle owners who work in the city centre of Malaysia–Kuala Lumpur. After witnessing how difficult it can be to find parking in the city centre, Kyan Liew set out to transform the parking industry by creating ParkIt.
Through a few years of hard work and persistence, ParkIt has grown to become the leading parking services platform in Klang Valley. A total of RM725,000 was invested to accelerate ParkIt's development by NEXEA's Angel Investors who are prominent investors that see huge potential in them.
Today ParkIt is valued at RM22,500,000 with its revenue exceeding RM4,250,000 in Financial Year 2022 alone; higher than their pre-COVID levels. With an aggressive outlook, Parkit aims to grow 20% and achieve RM6,600,000 in revenue by Financial Year 2023.
We had the pleasure of chatting with Kyan to learn more about how ParkIt was formed, Its values and Kyan’s goals for ParkIt.
ParkIt is a Peer-to-Peer parking sharing platform that allows anybody to list, search, book and pay for parking. ParkIt's parking spaces are up to 30% cheaper with added benefits of better security, reserved parking and hassle-free payments.
According to Kyan, traditional car park operators lack flexibility and accessibility by focusing solely on parking rental fees rather than the client's issues. ParkIt focuses on customer issues by providing the best-customised parking consultation prior to customers parking with them
The ParkIt team is currently looking for anyone who has a parking spot in a prominent commercial area, such as places like KL Sentral, KLCC, Pusat Bandar Damansara, Bangsar, TTDI, Damansara Heights, and more. Kyan added, “These are most often than not, homeowners of condominiums within the vicinity.”
“The parking lots in condominium areas are built for the tenants, but they are always empty. It does not make sense to spend millions to build multi-level car parks in our city when there are so many residential car parks under-utilized,” explained Kyan.
Taking inspiration from sharing communities that have popped up recently such as co-working spaces, Kyan wants to make parking spots accessible to those who need them via the sharing economy business model. As a ParkIt user, you can utilize the ParkIt platform to identify the closest parking spot. After making a reservation online, ParkIt will manage the car park booking and give users parking instructions and access devices. The advantage of being a ParkIt user is they only need to pay once for parking, without any additional fees.
During our conversation with Kyan, we realised that ParkIt focuses on “Customer First” as a main principle of the company. “Customer First” refers to ParkIt’s working attitude of always prioritizing client experiences in order to provide the best solution to their clients, rather than focusing solely on the parking spot rental performance.
When managing a parking reservation, the ParkIt team strives to understand the customer’s problem and advise them on the best solution. To enhance ParkIt’s customer services, Kyan stated that: “Customers' impressions are influenced by how much you appreciate and respect them'' As a consequence, he shared that ParkIt's main company principle is "Customer-centric."
"Our ultimate mission is to enable customers to book directly from our platform without the need of going through any management offices." When people visit a new area, the first parking company that comes to mind is ParkIt. ParkIt would provide users with precise directions to locate their parking spot."
As a startup company leader, Kyan shared with us how he was able to lead a team to conquer challenges in his entrepreneurial journey. According to Kyan, he believes in positive company culture and a strong belief is vital to a company for maintaining excellent performance.
"Internal company culture should constantly be fast and flexible in order to maintain competitiveness and respond to market trends." Furthermore, Kyan stated that as a startup, "Speed" is the one advantage that ParkIt has to differentiate itself from the competition.
Kyan has revealed the key to ParkIt's high-efficiency productivity. "In ParkIt's organizational structure, we positioned our people in the appropriate role position to realise the great potential they possess." He believes that the greatest way to discover people's enormous potential is to place diverse personalities in different job roles, which will foster great potential and passion for work.
“A strong internal culture is essential to perform well to our clients.” He told us ParkIt always treats each customer as special. Kyan believes that this is a great way to gain credibility and instil confidence in the customers. “We try to consult and understand our customers' problems rather than selling our services. I believe that is why our customers believe and keep using our services.”
Safety is always the primary concern of the public to using ParkIt’s services. To alleviate those concerns, ParkIt will supply tenants with detailed information on parking lot users. For instance, ParkIt will verify the user information, reason, and credit card information. After that, the customer details will be provided to car park owners who are concerned about safety so they will know why the individual is using their parking and who is utilizing the parking place.
You are probably wondering where Kyan got the idea for an online parking platform that has helped countless people find parking. It is because he, like many others, was frustrated by the shortage of parking spots. As a former consultant for PwC Malaysia, Kyan has to commute to his workplace at KL Sentral daily, which is renowned for its high parking rates and insufficient parking availability. Then, as he looked over at the condominium next to his workplace, Kyan had an epiphany.
" When I looked at the condominium next to my office, I noticed that many of the parking spots were empty, which makes no sense given how difficult it is to get parking and how expensive parking spots are outside. Then I realised that if I knew someone in the building who does not use their parking spots, I could pay them a reduced amount to acquire a reserved spot in a spacious car park with excellent security right next to my workplace.” Since then, Kyan has brought the idea to life and named it ParkIt in December 2016.
When starting a company, there will undoubtedly be numerous challenges. This is also true for ParkIt, which had a unique business concept at the time. When asked what the biggest challenge he has encountered during his entrepreneurial journey was, Kyan answered that he had conquered different difficulties and challenges until ParkIt had today’s result. However, he does not consider ParkIt to be in his comfort zone.
“ParkIt is constantly on the road to accepting and overcoming challenges, we are not satisfied with our current status. I would always consider the biggest challenge for me to be the present; the obstacles we overcame have become our glory.”
Moving on to the next stage of the entrepreneur journey will always be hard for any entrepreneur due to the numerous challenges and unknown factors that await them. Many companies may give up at this point, but Kyan persists and continues to push his company forward. He stated that the motivation to keep him going is the fulfilment he receives from the value he contributes to society.
As a startup company leader, Kyan realised that he has a huge responsibility as a leader of a company. Everyone believes that being a company founder is the most relaxed position, but Kyan disagrees. "As the leader of a startup company, I need to make every crucial decision that impacts the company's destiny. Being an employee is much easier than being a founder because they just wait for the commander to execute, but the founder is everyone's slave because everyone, from business employees to shareholders, looks to me to steer the company to success."
However, Kyan was not ready to call it quits as he believes that the more challenging the task, the greater the reward. "By reward, I do not mean financially, but rather the satisfaction of your actions. I feel significantly more fulfilled because I can see that my efforts and actions translate into more value to society than working for a company." For Kyan, the biggest reward for establishing the company is fulfilment. Kyan feels that he has a responsibility to address this problem so that other people do not have to deal with the same issues he faces on a regular basis.
Looking back at where Kyan and his team started their journey and how they have developed to become the leading parking services platform in Klang Valley demonstrates the constant improvement of the team. Kyan shared that his secret to keeping his team improving is by ensuring everyone has a good learning curve “We don’t like inactive employees, we always want them to challenge themselves and grow. If they don't have any duties or are eager to grow, we will let them take on a new responsibility to assist them to reach their maximum potential."
Another factor in the team's continuous improvement is Kyan's search for talent with the right personality who can support the team. During the interview, Kyan explained that when hiring new employees for the company, they will do a personality assessment to ensure that the candidates have the appropriate personalities and energy to complement and improve the team.
As a former PWC consultant, Kyan stated that his time at the multinational company equipped him with the expertise and experience he needs to better guide the company. He shared that one thing he learned and brought into the company is their transformative leadership style. Kyan praised how the international corporation was able to modify itself to meet current employees ’ needs to attract more potential employees.
"They didn't transform individuals to fit the company, but they created the company around the people who were already there." Kyan thinks that the firm should always adapt to suit its employees, and they are working to change their culture and workstyle to better suit its employees.
Through the constant improvement of Kyan and his team, they achieved numerous accomplishments throughout their journey. Kyan remarked that his greatest achievement is helping customers to solve a problem that he has been struggling with by reducing the burden of locating a parking spot. ‘’Over the last 3-4 years of starting the company, we have helped thousands of customers reduce their stress of locating a parking place. It always hits me whenever we receive a good review from the customers.” Whenever he receives a positive review from a customer, Kyan says it reminds him of his original intention of starting ParkIt.
“Whether it is the first or the millionth customer. The fulfillment and satisfaction that comes from assisting the customers have not changed. It may not be the company's greatest achievement, but it is mine.”Kyan Liew
Kyan added that for the company's plan for the next five years, he wants ParkIt to become the largest parking supplier in ASEAN and Southeast Asia, aggregating those parking spots into the platform to assist individuals in other countries that are facing the same problem. Besides that, ParkIt also has operations in Hong Kong and Singapore and they plan to further expand into those countries in the future.
Like many other entrepreneurs, Kyan has been through many ups and downs and accumulated a plethora of knowledge and experience throughout his entrepreneurial journey. He was kind enough to provide some pearls of advice to those who aspire to follow in his footsteps. He advised that it is essential for those who aspire to be an entrepreneur to stop planning and just do it.
"If you want to be an entrepreneur, you should just do it. Stop planning and thinking about it and start doing it. If you do not take the first steps in starting a business, it will be hard to plan the next few steps as you are in the dark. Just take the first step, and the rest will follow naturally."
Kyan continues to emphasize the importance for the individuals who want to be entrepreneurs to take small first steps in starting a business, if not it will just be meaningless.
"You can plan all you want, but if you do not execute the plan, it will just be on paper. You can plan for the next ten years, but it will be useless unless you take the first step."Kyan Liew
From the whole conversation with Kyan, he has demonstrated his passion for starting a company and helping others in addressing their problems. Even though he started his entrepreneurship journey with less experience than the older entrepreneurs, his passion and dedication have helped him flourish by consistently developing himself and the team.
One of the mentors in the Entrepreneurs Programme praised Kyan for his entrepreneurial spirit. "Kyan came to us at the very early stages of ParkIt, but it was because of his entrepreneurial spirit and his passion that we decided to mentor and invest in his company," said Alan Lim, co-founder and former CEO of MediaBanc Group.
When asked what he thinks about the future growth of ParkIt, Alan is confident that it will continue to grow.
"Kyan possesses the characteristics of a good entrepreneur, which include passion, vision, and the ability to establish functional teams. His ability to navigate the company through difficult times with an additional thriving business and positive cash flow is remarkable, that is why I believe the company will continue to flourish."
It was a joy to speak with Kyan and learn more about how he was able to transform an issue he was experiencing into a solution that solves the problems of thousands of others. From everything that has been mentioned thus far, it is evident that Kyan is a visionary and an inspiring entrepreneur who is passionate about his business and providing the finest service to his customers.
Visit ParkIt's website here to learn more about how they can assist you in securing a safe and reserved parking space to avoid the pain of insufficient parking.
We hope that you learned a few things through this article and feel inspired to achieve your goals in life. We at the Entrepreneurs Programme wish you all the best in your future endeavours.