NZ's Frogparking locks in US, Aussie deals worth $10m during lockdown

29 May 2020 10:34 AM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

Palmerston North's Frogparking was knocked back by the coronavirus lockdowns, like most companies. It claimed $160,000 in wage subsidies during the lull.

But it's also set to power out of the period, having signed three major deals for its carpark management technology during the layover.

Collectively, the three multi-year contracts are worth more than $10 million, managing director Shareena Sandbrook says.

One is for the giant City of Hope Medical Centre near Los Angeles, involving around 6500 parking spaces.

A second is for the Chadstone Shopping Centre in Melbourne - which claims to be the Southern Hemisphere's largest mall operation with its A$1.2 billion annual turnover and more than 10,000 parking bays catering to up to 70,000 shoppers per day.

The third is the Central Coast Council in New South Wales, covering a vast swathe of territory north of Sydney.

How do you land deals during a downturn?

Shareena, who co-founded Frogparking with her father, entrepreneur Don Sandbrook (a director and major shareholder), says her company did not let any staff go during the level 4 and level 3 lockdowns. In fact, it took on a couple, boosting its tally to 47 as it brought in a couple of salespeople from faltering competitors in the United States.

And, notably, Frogparking didn't just see white-collar laptop jockeys working from home. Sandbrook says "Lots of workshop staff took tools and equipment home, too." Garages became makeshift product-development labs for new hardware, helping with the push to win new sales.

Many Aucklanders will have first encountered Frogparking when it installed sensors and lights (green for empty, red for full) above park indoor parking bays at anchor customer Auckland Airport.

Offshore success followed. On the back of a successful pilot showcasing its technology at UCLA (the University of California, Los Angeles), Frogparking also landed Disney and Irvine (which bills itself as one of the largest mall operators in California) as customers.

And the technology has evolved along the way. Frogparking's wireless parking-bay sensors now feed information to a cloud dashboard that parking owners can use to nudge pricing up or down, depending on demand, while on the consumer side of things, Frogparking's app can be used to find and pay for a spot.

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By: Chris Keall
Business writer, NZ Herald