Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Justpark already laying off staff - eh??

It seems that Justpark have been laying off staff - rumour is that they have off loaded half of the team. Cant be cashflow surely? http://uk.businessinsider.com/london-startup-justpark-cutting-half-of-its-workforce-2015-11

With some terrible reviews and now the problems they face with their London sites and the threat from terrorists, its hardly surprising.

The concept has one very large and in our opinion fatal flaw. Justpark the company have very little if any quality control over what they are selling their customers - the spaces. Various complaints have emerged about unsafe spaces, spaces too small, people parking in the wrong space etc etc. We tried the system out. We promoted a fictitious space to see if they had any system of checks. They dont. You sign up on line and simple wait for a booking. So they will always have poor or dangerous spaces. People in a hurry to dump their car in a space they thought would be fine will not be customers for long.

When the pitch completed on CC, raising £3.5m at a valuation of £20m, we asked the company what checks they had for the private central London spaces vis a vis bombs etc. They had none. In light of recent very sad events, we think this was a little short sighted. Various spaces can be booked anonymously for long periods - in private locked garages. Perfect for anyone wanting to wreak havoc. 

5 comments:

  1. Cash flow party has come to an end! Wonder if they'll turn to Crowdcube again? Maybe it'll look desperate if they structure it as a minibond?

    Problem with this model is the fact that people that rent a space will be either doing it either one off (Like I did for Heathrow) or on a recurring basis - by which point you have already struck up a relationship with the space owner and you can circumvent the platform. It's nothing like Airbnb in that respect. I was told to call the Heathrow car space owner direct to save some $$ next time I needed a space and that was after one meeting!

    The valuations on these things makes me sick. Bubble alert.

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  2. Trying to work out what your point is with this Rob. Yes their valuation is ridiculous, yes laying off staff like this is bad management. But the concept of making best use of space in a crowded city is important. Just can't understand what is to be gained by slating someone like JustPark who are trying something pretty positive and innovative. Sounds like their CEO/founder made a hiring mistake. They're not the first to do this and it's something that happens with plenty of VC backed businesses too, the crowd funding aspect is pretty irrelevant.

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    1. Point is a simple one - they raised a lot of money on Crowdcube at a ridiculous valuation and like so many Crowdcube pitches they are not what they appear to be. The concept is fundamentally flawed - no control over their product ie the spaces. Issues with security esp in central London have not been addressed. i assume you are an investor, so your enthusiasm is well placed. I believe that this company has got its model wrong - look at the Trustpilot reviews. Off loading half of your staff is not a hiring mistake :)

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  3. Hi Rob,

    Happy to share openly and honestly what has actually happened and not what has been sensationalised in the media.

    I normally wouldn't respond to a post like this which has been taken out of context and misrepresented but feel a duty to the 2,900 people who backed us who may be reading this.

    The company DID make some hiring mistakes but only in that we did not focus enough on what was driving real value to the business. We grew a few of our teams too fast but realised quickly enough and made the tough but necessary decision decisively.

    The number of people we had to let go has been blown way out of proportion and the original article has since been amended.

    We are not running out of money. We raised over £3.7m and still have over 24 months of runway. Revenues are strong as is growth of our key metrics. The decision we made is very good for shareholders. The only people that have suffered have been my former colleagues and friends.

    If you have experience of advising or working with startups you will know that this is quite common and not always a bad thing.

    I'm not going to comment on individual trustpilot reviews as they are all unique and each one is dealt with by our customer happiness team who continue to beat industry standards in terms of response and resolution time. We've had over 250,000 reviews on our website with over 95% 4*/5 or higher. Our trustpilot rating is also very high (over 9/10).

    Unfortunately when operating a business like ours it is impossible to prevent certain situations. We do our best to prevent these issues from arising and also sort out any problems as quickly as possible.

    We have a team dedicated to ensuring the quality of our listings and quickly demote and remove listings that offer drivers a poor experience.

    Regarding your point about security, I answered your question at the time in the crowdcube forum regarding a terrorist potentially using JustPark to park in a car park.

    With everything that has recently happened in Paris, I would rather not comment further but hope that anyone reading this would agree that someone using JustPark would only increase the security of the general public and the parking location rather than decrease it as we would know the identity of the driver.

    I am happy answering any other questions you have about JustPark and hope that this clarifies a few things.

    Anthony

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