Easypark’s Journey from Analog to Digital Parking Success

Johan Birgersson, the driving force behind one of the world's most widely used parking apps for 14 years, has been at the forefront of the digital transformation in how we pay and park. Now, he has taken a step back in the Easypark hierarchy.

Johan Birgersson and Peter Hellgren.

– I’m trying to assist my colleagues – see if I can create value in various ways, especially for my successor, Cameron, says Johan Birgersson in the Digital Influencer podcast about his role as an advisor.

Founded in 2001 as a significantly more analog parking service with a few parking spaces in Stockholm, Easypark has fast-forwarded 20 years to become the largest in Europe, making claims on the global market. How does such a journey unfold?

– In 2008, the first year I started, was the first year we turned a profit. Since then, we’ve been profitable and self-financing in everything we’ve done except for the last major acquisition in 2021. But it was a somewhat battered company. It had a long and varied history, and it took about six years to prepare the company in various ways to expand globally.

Before that, at the turn of the millennium, Johan Birgersson had initiated a somewhat early version of a digital wallet.

– In the year 2000, a company in Stockholm called Mint was established. They developed a digital wallet – they even developed what is called peer-to-peer, meaning you can send money to each other. They were probably 17–18 years ahead of their time… Then they saw that Stockholm was holding a competition to find a solution for mobile parking payments. And they won against VM-data and other much larger companies.

Mint then became the foundation for Easypark, which, through a clear vision and an aggressive acquisition strategy, quickly gained market share.

– We have made 16 acquisitions and mergers where we have transferred each company’s IT operations and app to ours – and consequently closed down 16 entities, so we’ve had quite a bit of courage. It hasn’t been easy, but I think you have to decide and go all the way. You don’t get the economies of scale if you don’t go all the way.

Like many other tech giants, Easypark generates vast amounts of data from its millions of users, which can be translated into enhanced user experiences.

– Cities have extremely limited data, meaning: where do people park, when do they park, how long do they park? We’ve been working on that for many years. So, we acquired an Israeli company with fantastic people who had been working for six years trying to identify the most likely places to find an available parking space. Then we brought that technology onto our platform, improved it qualitatively and quantitatively, and rolled it out in 42 major European cities, explains Johan Birgersson, elaborating on the collaboration between Easypark and cities.

– We have what we call a ‘dashboard’ that all cities have access to when we work with them. Together with the cities, we ensure that we collect as much data as possible. But it’s also important to understand what the data means and what we can do with it. We only collect data that we believe can solve our problem.

New episodes of the Digital Influencer podcast are released on Thursdays. You can find the episodes wherever podcasts are available.

**On December 18, 2023, it was revealed that Easypark had fallen victim to a cyberattack, leading to the leakage of certain users’ names, phone numbers, physical addresses, and emails.
“We deeply regret the incident and will continue to work every day to earn your trust,” commented the company on the occurrence.**

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