One of the great benefits of learning to code in an in-person, immersive environment is the connections you make with your instructor, campus team and classmates. The immersive experience can be tough, and we hear time and time again that the support systems our students develop with each other in the classroom is integral to their success. At the end of the day, The Iron Yard is a family. Once you join it, you remain part of our ever-growing network throughout your career.
One of the most rewarding things for us to see is when a group of Iron Grads team up and work together after graduation. And that’s exactly what happened with the ParqU team in Houston.
Matthew Wright, Kyle Wynne and Kevin Cruz all attended The Iron Yard in Houston in 2014. After graduating, Kevin moved to Greenville, South Carolina to be a part of The Iron Yard Ventures accelerator program and start his own company. There, he met mentor Dr. Jerome Aya-Ay, a Board Certified family physician and the CEO/Co-founder of Palmetto Proactive Healthcare & Care Direct MD, South Carolina’s first and fastest growing Direct Primary care (DPC) practice.
After finishing The Iron Yard Ventures program and moving back to Houston, Dr. Aya-Ay contacted Kevin to see if he wanted to be involved in a new project called ParqU, a parking solution that allows individuals to reserve and sell commercial and/or residential parking spaces for major sporting events. Kevin accepted and when tasked with putting together a team, his first calls were to his fellow Iron Grads, Matthew and Kyle, and Thanh Nguyen, a talented local developer.
The ParqU app allows “hosts” to feature their parking spots in the same way rental homes are displayed and sold on Airbnb. Parking seekers can use the app to find, reserve and pay for parking. After purchase, users can enable GPS guidance to the designated parking spot address.
“We went all over the nation to research the market and make sure there was a need for what we were creating,” Kevin explained. “The biggest lesson I learned from this experience is that you just have to get out there and do the work. Just because it’s a software company doesn’t mean you can sit behind your computer all day. It takes hard work and actually going out and talking to potential clients and partners. We’ve been bootstrapping this company from day one.”
The ParqU team ran pilot programs at Clemson, Texas A&M and the University of Houston to fine-tune their model. Now, with the Super Bowl coming up in Houston next month, the team is taking ParqU to the next level. They are now the largest parking software company for both the 2017 Super Bowl and the 2017 Houston Rodeo with more than 5,000 parking spots listed within a one mile radius of NRG stadium.
“The Iron Yard has been the best education I’ve had in my life,” said Kevin. “It gave me the ability to actually create the ideas and visions that I have. I can’t thank Jesse Wolgamott and Brian Dorton on the Houston campus enough for all of the support they give their students.”