Small Business Over a Small Coffee – Season 1 Episode 1 – Share With Oscar

Did you know Metigy had a TV show?

With the help of Optus, we’ve launched Small Business over a Small Coffee, an original series about small business owners who have found success in Australia and the stories behind the businesses they’ve built.

We wanted to provide our community of forward-thinking SMB marketers with the inspiration of real stories that they can use when growing their businesses.

As a former small business owner, I know how valuable it is to learn from businesses that are a couple of years ahead of you in their journey. You can save time by learning from their mistakes, seeing what marketing tools worked for them, and discovering their most effective marketing strategies.

That’s why I think any business owner will get a lot of value (and hopefully entertainment) from the first episode with Lisa and Louise from Share with Oscar, who are making our cities more livable through the sharing economy.

Parking is tricky in major cities, but Lisa and Louise are helping to alleviate the pain of searching for parking in crowded areas by creating an on-demand parking app.

I head down to Bondi Beach, where they first had the idea for their business, to chat about their experiences as business owners and the tools they used to help grow their business. And of course, as advertised, we get coffee.

We touch on customer feedback, acquiring customers in the early days, and autonomous cars.

So please enjoy the first episode of Small Business over a Small Coffee with Lisa and Louise from Share with Oscar.

Let us know what marketing lessons you took away from this episode in the comments below.

Related: Learn more marketing lessons from Lisa and Louise from Share with OscarHow Share with Oscar got 2.7k engagements by spending just $10

About Share with Oscar

About Share with Oscar

Share with Oscar is an on-demand platform that allows you to book a private parking space by the hour. This means, as a driver you can instantly book to park in a local resident’s or business’s empty car space for the hours you need it. As a spot owner, you can rent out your car space when it’s available and earn a passive income. Started by two female entrepreneurs passionate about finding a community-based solution to solve our congestion issues, the platform already has thousands of private parking spaces available to book for just $2 per hour. Share with Oscar was also awarded Best Mobile App Startup at the Australasian Startup Awards (StartCon) in 2018.

Transcript from episode 1 Small Business over a Small Coffee

Transcript from episode 1 Small Business over a Small Coffee

– [Brendan] Congestion. Sydney is one of the best cities in the world. But it’s also one of the most congested, with an average commute time of 71 minutes a day.

– It’s good to be back in Sydney till I start driving again.

– But don’t worry about the driving, the parking is even worse. With more cars than parking spots, you’re never going to reach Hakuna Matata. You are going to have lots of worries for the rest of your driving days. But luckily, my very special guests today, Lisa and Louise from Share with Oscar, are solving this problem. They’ve created a way to make our cities more livable through the sharing economy. So I’m heading down to Bondi Beach where they first had the idea for their business. It’s gonna look good on camera, I’m gonna learn marketing lessons from the business front line, and I get to go to one of the world’s most famous beaches. So what is not to love here? We touch on customer feedback, acquiring customers in the early days, and autonomous cars. There’s something about these guys, you can’t help, but like them. They’re smart, funny, and driven to succeed with their business. And that’s why I am so excited to talk small business over a small coffee with Lisa and Louise from Share with Oscar. I’m Brendan Hill, former small business owner and growth marketer and this is, “Small Business Over a Small Coffee.” A show about small business owners who have found success in Australia and the stories behind the businesses they’ve built. So you guys, super excited to talk to you today. But first what is Share with Oscar?

– So, Share with Oscar, we’ve got a platform which is all about sharing private parking spaces. So whether that’s your driveway, your garage, or a small private parking lot that you’ve got, you can list it on Oscar and then share it for any hour during the day that you’re not parking in it and obviously for drivers, it’s a way to find access to more parking spaces, conveniently and more affordably. I guess the idea for Oscar came about a couple years ago and it originated in Bondi. So I could not find a single parking spot on a Saturday afternoon, driving up and down every street for about 45 minutes, an hour, still unable to find a single parking space. And yet you’re passing just thousands of these empty driveways and thinking to yourself, “Well, why can’t I just park there?” So I did, I pulled into a house, knocked on the door, and asked the very kind owner if I could please park in his driveway for the afternoon for $20.

– And he said yes?

– And he let me.

– Nice.

– And so that’s how the idea for Oscar was born. And this is the spot, so you can just pull up into this driveway here. Or keep driving past it. Your choice.

– All right, so we’ve been driving around for about 15, 20 minutes, and can’t find a parking spot anywhere in Bondi as per usual. Can we use Share with Oscar to find some?

– If only there was an app for that.

– [Brendan] Let’s try it.

– [Louise] Absolutely. So we’ll book something right now.

– [Brendan] And have you heard of the term that companies use when they use their own products?

– What is it?

– Dogfooding. Have you heard of that before?

– No! What?

– When a company uses their own app, it’s referred to as dogfooding.

– So anyway, that’s what we’re doing right now.

– We’re dogfooding.

– Let’s dogfood it.

– [Louise] All right, I’ve booked us a spot.

– [Brendan] Already?

– Yeah. It’s that quick!

– So you’ve done it that quickly.

– [Louise] And we’re gonna be parking in Jordan’s spot.

– [Brendan] Jordan!

– [Louise] So we can see if he’s home, and maybe say hello.

– [Brendan] How do I get to this spot?

– All right, it is just in front of this white van. And you just turn left.

– These streets are packed.

– Exactly.

– Would’ve taken us ages to get a spot.

– And this is literally as almost as close to the beach as you can possibly get.

– [Brendan] Just in here?

– [Lisa] He’s got a great spot. Yeah, right there.

– [Louise] Just on the left.

– [Brendan] Wow, right on the doorstep.

– [Lisa] Perfect.

– So I’m here with Jordan. One of Share with Oscar’s first ever customers. So we’re down here on Bondi, where he first found out about Share with Oscar. So, is this your spot right here?

– It is, yeah, just there. Prime position in Bondi.

– Yeah, right in the heart. And how did you first find out about Share with Oscar?

– It was actually through direct mail in that letter box ever there. I received a piece of paper saying, “Make money with your parking spot.” And I just know that in Bondi it’s a tough place to find parking in a prime position. And I just thought it was an innovative way of, an innovative business, an innovative way to make extra cash.

– [Brendan] Yeah, and say how does it work?

– You download the app, depending so, if you’re a person that owns the spot, you can set your frequency whether it’s reoccurring or one off availability. People that need the spot will then get alerted. And basically they allocate the spot through the app, payment’s made though the application, it’s quite simple, you just get notified when the money’s in the bank. So we basically just set the timeframes of when the availability of the spot is, spot’s available when, and then money’s in your bank account. Again, I think Oscar’s built a community between car spot owners, themselves and people who are looking for car spots. I think one of the sort of interesting outcomes of Share with Oscar is the community initiative. Especially in somewhere like Bondi, where everyone knows it’s difficult to find a parking spot, I think it’s one of the first suburbs that they actually approached in terms of scaling the business, it’s kind of become a community part as well, not just about sort of making money.

– So we’ve talked about getting feedback from customers, tell me about that customer feedback loop. How important has getting the information from your customers been in terms of product development?

– Yeah, really important. We make sure that we launch the product, that we have all the mechanisms in place so that we could capture customer feedback as quickly as possible. So, for example we had Instabug installed in the app, so when customers shook the app, we were immediately able to detect where they were stuck, you know, the bugs that they were detecting. We also made it a point to actually speak to customers regularly at the very beginning, to actually capture their feedback so that we could iterate on the product.

– But what we actually found with lots of customers, or potential users, they actually just gave us unsolicited feedback which is great. I remember this one fella, he, our sign up process was quite clunky, we asked for date of birth, we asked for address, we just asked for extra data, that we didn’t necessary need, but we thought why not capture it. And he actually send us an email saying, “This is too much information that you’re asking, “you’re stealing my identity, let it up.” But it was actually good feedback because it actually helped us scoop away some of the details for sign up process, but we also rely on like our super users to provide us as much feedback as possible. So any time that we want to test a new feature, we will go to these users to say, does this work, can you try it out and they feel like a part of the whole app creation process which is actually really good and that’s how they’ve kept so engaged over the last two years.

– And you guys have some pretty crazy users that you’ve been telling me about, the super users.

– Yeah, so we have and this is I guess, goes back to our marketing mix, our word of mouth in referrals is probably one of our most powerful channels, especially in the early days. The concept that we have is still relatively novel, you know, share your driveway, and so it’s interesting enough for people to start talking about, but we have these users who told friends and family, there’s one lady who lives nearby, she’s referred 67 friends and family.

– [Brendan] 67?

– Onto the platform and we’ve had another user, in Randwick, he’s written notes and delivered it to his neighbors to say, you should also be sharing your driveways on Oscar.

– We have another user who’s actually written emails to the councils and the government, telling them to kind of get on board, do something about it, Oscar is, so yeah, we’ve got users who love what we’re doing, they believe in the mission so they’re kind of keen to contribute as well.

– I actually hate coffee.

– What?

– I know, it’s ironic, Small Business Over A Small Coffee, but I’ll stick with the water, it’s fine.

– Yeah, no.

– So tell us a bit more about the actual product development, so you started with the minimum viable product, you collected a lot of feedback, here in Bondi, where the problem originated, what are the next steps after you talk to the customer because a lot of small businesses, they want to build an app, I mean, but they don’t realize how hard it is, and you guys actually went straight to building an app, is that right?

– Yes, so that was a mistake. But essentially we started out by mocking up on really low fidelity wireframes what the product would look like and we tested that with customers. So that would allow us to test out basic features in the very beginning, but we eventually moved into building an app because we had an assumption that if it was on your phone, it would be something you’d open and use to park with, but ultimately, that was one assumption that actually ended up creating a lot of friction in the sign up process. So looking back, probably not the right call to make. But ultimately, at the moment, we’ve tweaked the product and announced a web app, so it’s something that you can look online at first, and then afterwards, if you wanted it on your phone, you can just download and use that to park. So I did have a bit of a product background, I’ve previously built, designed and launched products, in a previous role, so that was helpful. We tried to approach it from a very customer-centered lens, so it was really about what the customers wanted, so in the beginning, our product was really super-basic, but over time, with all that user feedback, especially from super end-users, we were able to adapt the product so that today I think we’re able to provide a pretty good experience for both drivers and spot owners, but still we’re getting a lot of feedback and I think there’s still a long way to go.

– Neither of us come from a very technical background, so we don’t come from stuff with engineering, but Louise has really taken her time to up-skill herself in that area, so she’s learned to code. That is a completely different language to me and it’s something that I can’t learn, so I focus on sales and marketing. But Louise is all about the product.

– I think it’s really difficult to build a technical product to have a technology-based business with no understanding of technology, so we did have to kind of learn a little bit along the way to get that on standing.

– Tell me a bit more about how you’ve learned how to learn, so obviously, a massive learning curve, building it up from the ground up, with not much experience, do you guys watch YouTube videos, you read books, you go to courses, how can business owners learn these new skills?

– Yeah, so a lot of it was learning by doing, but there’s a lot of really good content online, so there’s lot of vlogs, a lot of good YouTube clips, tutorials, in terms of like SEO, SEM, we look at Neil Patel’s blog article, they’re really, really helpful. In terms of like social media optimization, various channels, Metigy has a couple of really good blog articles as well that we looked at. I think they recently published one about how to make the most optimized Twitter past, so we’ve been kind of going off that. Yeah, so a lot about just seeing what’s online, staying updated in terms of content that’s there and learning as you’re doing, yeah.

– So, working with a lot of businesses, often and a lot of the time, they have the biggest learnings from their failures, so any massive failures that you guys can tell us about and massive learnings that you got from that?

– None whatsoever.

– No, we’ve been perfect. We’ve done everything perfectly and it’s been a very smooth ride. No, there’s lots and lots of big, massive, failures, but. You go.

– Yeah, I mean, there’s been failures. There’s been mistakes that we’ve made along the way that might’ve cost us extra money, extra time, et cetera, but I think we did learn a lot from all them, so one of the biggest ones was in the beginning we launched as an app when we probably didn’t need to. So this created a little bit of friction in terms of the user sign up process. But ultimately what we learned from that was that when you’re building a product that is actually really solving a user’s problem, people will actually climb mountains to try and get it. So even though it was a process full of friction, people would still do it, they’d just give us the feedback that, hey, maybe you don’t need a map in the first instance, so there was massive learnings there. And then I think another might be that we maybe didn’t ask for help and surround ourselves with the right people early on enough, and I think we could have expedited our learnings by doing that in an early stage, so just having the people that we could reach out to and bounce ideas off and learn from at an earlier stage, yeah.

– And I think as opposed to maybe like massive failures, for us it’s been just a very, it’s been a huge learning journey, it’s probably been a slower learning journey than we would have liked, but I guess what’s that saying about hindsight, I think everything that we’ve done, we’ve done for a reason and we’ve learned from it.

– What’s the next stage for Share With Oscar? Are you gonna take a similar approach to Uber with developing the playbook for each city, you guys have a good amount of users now in Bondi and Sydney where the product originated, what are the next steps for you guys?

– I think what you just touched on in terms of that Uber, city-by-city approach is exactly the way to go, for a business like ours. So we’re creating a double-sided marketplace, so there’s supply in terms of the parking places, and then there’s demand in terms of the drivers, and so similar to the way Uber does it, you really need to balance both sides of the market, in a concentrated area before that product is actually valuable to these users. So what we’ve been doing is launching in what we’ve even call micro-markets, and I guess that’s a similar strategy to what Uber Eats would have done when they launched, which is, they didn’t just drop Uber Eats on all of Sydney, they unlocked pockets or even suburbs and that’s exactly our approach, so we started with Bondi, so we got parking spaces all around Bondi and then we got drivers or people who are driving into Bondi to use the app to book and then we’ve moved on to other micro-markets like the University. So all around Kensington, Kingsford, Randwick, then we did the sports stadiums, so around Allianz Stadium in the SCG and Olympic Park, and then we’ve moved on to hospitals and we’ve slowly kind of grown our use case in these micro-markets over the last two years and that’s where we’ve been really learning and testing and so we have playbooks for these micro-markets, so how do we launch on a beach versus how do we launch at a hospital, and that’s the playbook that we’ll be taking nationally. So we now know how to launch in several Universities or several hospitals, so how do we take that to Melbourne or Brisbane next and the rest of Australia.

– Given we are rolling out in these niche markets and niche pockets, it’s really important for us to be able to understand our customers, especially if we want to scale in a digital way. So we use Metigy to be able to basically hone our marketing messages to different niched segments, so the AI tools are really effective in terms of the message when to actually send out the message and the calendar planning tool as well which was really great. So we rely on that quite a lot, but also even though we’re just targeting pockets, we’re seeing a lot of organic growth throughout, so we’re constantly getting people emailing us and calling us, telling us to go into certain areas and so, that’s a little bit of the plan as well, based on the demand in terms of what our current base wants, we’ll also start to look at launching in those markets.

– As I say, guys, enjoy.

– Cheers, and thank you so much!

– [Brendan] Like, mainly do you like?

– [Louise] Right.

– Or it’s just a bit more, like who lives around here.

– Yeah, okay. Mainly parking on the beach is $10 an hour.

– Yeah.

– That kills me. As opposed to $7.80 for four hours over here. But can we get a pan of the car park, because one of the guerrilla tactics that we actually did, I literally stood at that entrance of the car park and handed out flyers and just showed them into car windows to say, hey find parking with Oscar and you can park over there because on a weekend this would just get completely rammed.

– So, tell me about the early days of Share With Oscar, starting a business, there’s so many jobs to do, but of course the lifeblood is getting new customers, so how did you guys get new customers onto the platform in the early days?

– So when we first started, neither Louise nor I have a marketing background at all, so we didn’t know anything about digital ads, like Facebook marketing, or Google ads, so our first 100 customers that we got was purely through flyers. When we first launched our pilot in Bondi, we would flyer every single house. It’d be us on weekends just handing out flyers, I actually remember, the first batch of flyers that we did, we were so precious about them, we wanted them to look like beautiful postcards, we just printed out a 100 because they were so expensive. And we delivered it to the very specific houses that we wanted, that didn’t get too much of an update, but over the course of two weeks, we had over 60 parking spaces signed up onto the platform and then we were like, cool, how do we get drivers to book them? And so again back to what we know best, flyers, we created some more flyers and we would stand outside of the parking lots every weekend and just stick them through car windows as cars were driving by and telling them there’s a cheaper alternative to this car park, just down the street. We’d also just stick flyers on windshields and that was an activity that we did probably every single weekend for about the first two months. That was just to get our very first users onboard. Since then I think we’ve matured a little bit with our marketing.

– I would hope so.

– But it’s still effective.

– It is.

– It still is very effective.

– So you guys are experimenting with different marketing channels, what has you excited in 2019 around marketing?

– I think what’s really interesting is delivering ads in a timely and contextual way. For example, we did a content piece on when Prince Harry and Megan were in Bondi, and there was this piece that was released around how they couldn’t find parking in the area, it was like this kind of joke, and we shared that and that went pretty much viral on our page. And so, in terms of timing, Metigy is great for that again in terms of being able to see when to actually post something, to deliver effectiveness. I think it’s all about relevance and delivering really personalized post at the right time.

– So you guys have a super-engaged community, especially here in Bondi. How do you keep those guys engaged and up to date with Oscar and all your new plans for the future?

– I think, I guess in particular with Bondi, given it’s where the idea was born, there’s a strong connection to the community given again we’ve designed the product around some of our super-users, like early adopters from Bondi, that’s also kept us I guess engaged with this community, but things like, just engaging community groups, particularly amongst all the micro-suburbs that we’ve launched in has been really important. So for example here in Bondi, it was getting the local papers talking about us, it was getting local businesses, they’ve been promoting us to their customers to find more accessible parking outside their, whether that’s their shop, or their saloons, and then it’s, it’s a microcosm of so much activity, but lots of small business here, that’s also been something that’s kept our users really engaged.

– I think for us, we’ve gone above and beyond to actually understand each community that we’re launching in, to understanding the unique needs of that community and ultimately the people that are on our platform, they all believe in the mission in terms of what we’re trying to achieve, and that’s how we’re getting the super users that are writing to the government on our behalf and the councils and people who are actually spreading the word of mouth for us because they actually believe that our solution can help a local problem, so it’s about a common purpose.

– Yeah, so customer advocacy is something that is really critical for us, especially after we’ve launched in a market, we need the word to continually spread without us having to just constantly drum marketing in one area, so we rely on advocates within the community to spread the word and tell other people. Another thing that we did earlier in the days, I think it was right after the launch, Louise and I drove around and we hand-delivered bottles of wine to our first 50 users that singed up their parking space.

– And hand-written notes.

– We hand-wrote notes, every name and we drove around all evening, just dropping bottles of wine at people’s doorsteps, especially sometimes they weren’t home, so it was just leaving it on their doormat. But that’s just another example of a way to just build customer advocacy because we got so many thank you notes from that as well. And it was a way for us to stay front of mind for our customers.

– It sounds super-granular, but I think a lot of the big businesses, they all started doing really manual things and that’s kind of how you learn the most about your customers, how you build that initial, I think the aim is to get 100 customers that absolutely love your product first and then your business will grow from there. So that’s kind of our idea, we started, and so, that was our goal, to get first a 100 to just love the product.

– A part of it is, as opposed to just marketing to new users, something that’s quite critical to our business is engaging existing users, it’s not just about acquisition, but it’s about activating and engaging our current users and that’s through email marketing, but even actually just picking up the phone and speaking to them, A, to get the customer feedback, but to establish that extra touchpoint with them.

– Yeah, so tell me more about the onboarding experience as well, because you had super sticky users on both sides of the market, what are some of the ways that you make the journey easy for them?

– Yeah, so on that dot, we actually physically went and onboarded every customer because we wanted to make sure every listing was perfect, because it would impact the experience of the driver. And that’s kind of what we learned, in terms of like, we’d hope they actually went out and took, got in front of it and took photos of the various spots, we knew that that side of the experience would be perfect.

– So we did that as well, we took photos and we drove into every single parking space, made sure the instructions were actually accurate, that it was easy to spot and then take the photos and then rewrite some of the instructions for our users.

– So now, we’re not obviously as manual, but on top of that, in terms of like the driver side, it’s pretty intuitive, just sign up, search for a parking space, book and pay. And then after you pay, get instructions in terms of exactly where to park, so all of that is pretty intuitive, but I guess more of the onboarding would be on the spot-owner side at the moment, and we’ve tried to change the flow of that process so that’s a little bit more intuitive and automatic as well.

– One, I guess one feature that we have that keeps our users sticky and part of the Oscar community is the ability to share your parking space, so for any hour during the day that you’re not parking in, you can share it, whether that’s on a weekend, or whether that’s weekday evenings or Monday through Friday, nine to five, when you’ve driven to work, share it for those hours, but then use those earnings that you make to also park in someone else’s spot, so we’ve got a segment of our users that are both supply and demand which has been quite unique.

– Yeah. We have one specific customer, in UNSW, she actually lives on one side of the campus, she rents out her space to drive to the other side, and parks with her earnings. So effectively, I mean she’s been quite creative with that as a solution, but for some of our users it’s completely offsetting the cost of parking.

– Yeah, so I think what we really want to do is create or facilitate like a true sharing economy, so that we’re just sharing each other’s parking spaces and not thinking about it as a grudge, just to pay for parking.

– And speaking of the sharing economy, how can small businesses utilize the sharing economy?

– We’ve got several small business customers that actually share their parking space. So, for example, you know, we’ve got a physiotherapist who has six parking spaces out the back, it’s a clinic for three people, so her parking space is actually vacant a lot of the time, so she’s renting them out to our customers. Another way small businesses use us is to recommend us to their stakeholders, whether that’s customers or employees, to say, use Oscar to find parking near work.

– We’ll even have some businesses that just based on the hours that they’re open, it just makes a lot of sense for them to rent our their parking spaces when it’s available, so for example, a cafe, they might not be open on the evenings, so it’s available. On the flip side, the physiotherapist, they’re not open on certain days, and so due to the flexible nature of the platform, it really works out to kind of being an extra revenue source for them and this other business that we have, they have a tennis business basically, and they’re making more money from their parking spaces than they are from their core business which is pretty cool. I think that in some instances, hopefully this is making it a bit easier to run a business because it’s sometimes quite hard to do that.

– Yeah, there’s so many costs.

– Yeah.

– And speaking of the early days in business, how do you focus on which social media platform to use when you’re promoting your business? Do you guys subscribe to the theory that you should be across every single platform or should you focus your energy on certain platforms?

– Yeah, so we did try a little bit of everything.

– Yeah, a bit of spray and pray?

– Yeah, I think that’s what you have to do in the early days because you don’t know what specific channel is going to resonate with your target audience, and so for the first year, I think we tried all types of channels, but just experimenting with small marketing budgets.

– Yeah, you can’t I guess make an assumption until you’ve tried something, so we’ve definitely eliminated a few channels that aren’t quite as effective for us. And again with the Metigy dashboard, it’s really cool because you can actually see how the various channels are performing, so we ruled out Twitter, not great for us. But again, like Facebook has been really effective.

– So, when I first said that we were doing a Small Business Over a Small Coffee web show, you know, they said, choose whoever you want, who do you want to get on the first episode. So obviously, first I said I wanted to get Canva.

– Well, we went with that.

– No, I mean, you were a close second, so I rang up Canva and all those guys are unfortunately overseas at the moment.

– Oh I see, he’s too busy.

– But seriously, you guys are some awesome founders to have on in the first episode, I think everyone’s gonna learn a lot of great lessons, and actionable things they can takeaway from your story as well. How do you guys deal with pressure working in a high-stress environment of owning your own business?

– How do I deal with pressure? I think we’ve just become used to it, to be honest.

– It’s part of the fun of it I guess. Like, if there was no pressure, then you know, there’s nothing to keep us–

– Keeps it exciting.

– Yeah.

– But what about the whole, big moving and founder wellness at the moment, how do you not become overcome with pressure?

– I think the first kind of maybe two years when we’ve been working on it, I think we thrived in that pressure environment because it was so new, so everything that we learned or everything that we’ve been doing was quite novel, so we just completely threw ourselves in and immersed ourselves in it. Two years, now it’s been like two years of that, to kind of, we are trying to, I guess, balance it out a bit more, by trying to switch off in the evenings, when probably six, maybe eight months ago, we were not switching off at all.

– I think, yeah, the main thing is having that support network, so people around us who are kind of helping us throughout this journey, that’s been really important. And yeah, as Lisa mentioned, it’s important to switch off, because if you’re constantly on, then it just gets really draining and it’s easy to burn out.

– And last week, I did my first boxing class. That helped.

– Oh, nice.

– I know.

– Where at?

– Am I allowed to do a shameless plug on this? It’s called Beat Body.

– Right.

– It’s in Darling, but they’re a great class. Wonderful talking about them. But it was like, I never thought I’d be interested in it, but it actually quite, it does relieve stress.

– Yeah, that is good.

– Can you show me your closed fist? That’s not bad.

– What were you expecting?

– I’m really good and too wrong, but I’m not even good at it.

– And speaking of mentors and people to help you along the way, where did you guys find your support network and how did that help you?

– I mean it’s definitely friends and family that’s important. The support network is also just being in an environment where there are other founders, other people who have gone through a similar experience so they can kind of help you through it. You know, if you come across a problem, you can speak to them and see how they might have encountered or dealt with it. So that’s kind of it, at the moment we’re in a really cool space and the founders and that community is quite critical.

– Yeah, I think that’s kind of what you need in terms of a network around you, people doing different things. So your, kind of your peers who are in a similar stage of business to you, so that you can share the same frustrations and the same wins, but also having people who are ahead in business to provide that guidance and to share their experience and then even just like external perspectives, people who aren’t even in this kind of startup or small business ecosystem, again to provide another lens. Because we came from a corporate background and I think we knew what we were doing, having been around business for so many years, but then when you actually do start your own business, it’s a completely different world and it’s a different game and that’s what, like the first 18 months for us was really changing ourselves out of that corporate mindset into a more like fast and furious startup environment. At the beginning of this year, actually, we joined the UNSW accelerator program, called Founder 10X, so 10 weeks with 10 startups and it was all about accelerating growth, hence, we’re hopefully accelerating growth 10 times, so that was just a great environment to be amongst peers, but also having access to a mentor network. So the university actually provides mentors and we had an awesome mentor who’s an ex-Googler, who was really helping us all throughout for SEO, SEM, and Google ads, but also just being able to draw upon that vast, UNSW network is really helpful because the alumni is hugely impressive.

– And talk to us more about growth, so you mentioned that that’s your focus this year, have you guys set any sort of targets and what marketing channels have you guys put in place to achieve these targets?

– Yeah, so for, I guess in terms of our targets for growth and this year in particular, we’ve been focusing on specific metrics. So when we first started out, you know, you’re looking at all types of targets and metrics for your business whether that was user acquisition, and for us it was user acquisition on both supply and demand or you know, the number of bookings we were getting, the transaction size, revenue, we were probably looking at maybe 20 metrics and it was just really overwhelming, whereas this year, and from that accelerator program, we’ve really kind of zoned in on two or three key metrics for our business and so we’ve been really working on which leavers to pull to actually increase that particular metric, so this year it’s been our revenue.

– And I think from a growth perspective, as a company it can be really hard to grow the business and what we’ve been using is Metigy’s objective setting tool, so basically we can set objectives, and for example if it’s to grow awareness, we’ll set that as the objective and then basically all the channels after that are really helping us understand how the engagement or how the activities are working towards that objective, so that’s been really easy to use actually and really handy as well.

– Awesome, so what kind of traction are you guys getting?

– Right, so right now we’ve got about 12,000 users on the platform.

– Oh, nice.

– Sharing parking spaces, but we’ve been very focused in terms of launching in various markets. So, started in Bundi, then went around some universities, hospitals, and yeah, right now we’ve got about 1,500 parking spaces being shared, primarily in Sydney and the plan is to hopefully expand into Brisbane and Melbourne in the next 12 months.

– Thanks for today, it’s been fun. Coffee, breakfast, as your host.

– Thank you.

– Two coffees, there ain’t one for you.

– That’s all right, I’m still not a coffee fan. I wanted to thank you for coming on today. Before I let you go and drop you back to your beautiful blue house, tell me about the future, where will Share With Oscar be in the next five to 10 years? What happens to parking when autonomous vehicles hit the mainstream?

– So that’s actually a question that we’ve been asked a few times. I think there’s a common, I guess misconception that with the advent of autonomous vehicles, there’s actually gonna be no need for parking or a much lesser need for parking, but we actually that’s a false idea because these vehicles would no doubt still require parking or to stop between trips to be recharged because hopefully they’re electric, to be maintained, cleaned, things like that, and so the parking industry isn’t dying, but I think the way that we’ll be parking our cars will actually change. I think what we envisage is a future where maybe there’s no such thing as street parking.

– Right.

– And these are all pickup and drop off zones, and vehicles will have, these autonomous vehicles will actually have to park in private parking spaces with the right infrastructure, where there are chargers, so I think there’s very much a place for parking in the future.

– You speak about the early days, you know, coupling customer feedback with promotion as well, what do you guys–

– [Cameraman] Close your legs a bit.

– Just to keep it family-friendly.

– [Louise] Come on, Brendan.