Featured Pitch: ValetPay

I’ve mentioned numerous times in talking and writing about Pitch Practice that “you never know who’s going to show up and pitch.” Last week, a lady who had never been to Pitch Practice before attended and delivered one of the best and most discussed pitches we’ve had in a while.

We did not record her pitch (that’s totally voluntary), but here’s the breakdown of her idea.

There are several repetitive problems or friction with valet parking, regardless of where it is, who’s driving, or who’s parking. Those problems include, but are certainly not limited to the following:

  • Ticket system uses a torn off paper ticket that can be lost, smudged, etc.
  • The customer always has to bring the ticket to the Valet by hand, and then wait while the valet goes and gets the car.
  • The customer always has to have cash to tip the Valet.
  • Valets don’t always get paid or tipped appropriately because of the previous point: cash is required.
  • There is no mechanism to provide feedback to the Valet individually nor the Valet company.

ValetPay is a mobile app that replaces the paper valet ticket, allows the customer to request their car before leaving their dinner table, pay the Valet electronically, and offer a comment or review for both the Valet and the Valet company.

Here is something of a SWOT analysis on this idea.

  • Strengths – It’s a huge market, especially in big cities, relatively simple to validate the problem and solution, and the MVP could be put in place pretty quickly.
  • Weaknesses – It’s a two-sided market with Valets and their parent companies and the customers who will have to download the app.
  • Opportunities – huge market, and the pitch to Valets and companies is that the Valets will actually get paid and not have to carry cash is very strong. The convenience of not having to have cash when valet parking is solid in today’s world of all credit cards and apps. Also, if one could figure out a way to implement the system without the customer (car owner) having to download an app, that would accelerate adoption. It could be as easy as a text and using Square, though that would create some friction.
  • Threats – Luxe has attacked this market and raised $75M; however, they’re coming at it from a different angle. With Luxe, just like with Uber, anyone can be a parking Valet. I could park cars at my house if I wanted to. But Luxe is not trying to help the Valet business. They’re trying to destroy it, so this threat is actually something of an opportunity to give the Valet industry something to fight with, and self-disrupt and innovate rather than succumb to Luxe like the cab business is having to fight Uber.

These are the kinds of pitches we hear every week from enterprising entrepreneurs who have great ideas to solve big problems. In the Pitch Practice Podcast, we’ll feature one of these kinds of pitches each episode and do a similar analysis of the pitch and maybe the business.

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