- Course: Mathematics BSc
- Year of graduation: 2005
- Job title: Found & CEO
- Company: Just Park
- Location of year abroad: California, USA
What did you do after graduation?
In my third year of university I spent a year studying at Berkeley, California. It was there my love for technology, the Internet and believe it or not, my fascination for online poker developed.
I enjoyed playing, but most importantly, I discovered that there was a way to make a lot of money by referring customers to online poker sites.
After graduating I decided to put some of my basic web design skills and knowledge of the online poker industry to good use and built an advertising portal promoting online gaming. Thanks to the online gaming boom in the mid 2000’s, I was able to fund a 6 month round-the-world gap year trip with a little left over to start my current business.
It was towards the end of my journey, while visiting old university friends in California that I had the idea for my business, ParkatmyHouse.
What is your current position?
I’m the founder & CEO of JustPark (a peer to peer marketplace for parking connecting drivers to home/business owners with spare parking) and I also co-founded Parkopedia (a comprehensive parking information database with an up to date data set of 15m parking spaces in 20 countries). Both websites are world leaders in their respective markets.
What does your current role involve?
Absolutely everything! As we grow the team, my typical day would include replying to emails, partnership/business development opportunities, customer support, HR, payroll, financial management and software development.
Now that we have raised a round of investment, we are currently recruiting so that I can concentrate on the business development side of the business.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Closing a significant round of financing from BMW has to be up there.
Since I started the company, we have been voted as a “Find of the year” by Yahoo! And been voted as one of the hottest and smartest start-ups by our peers. Reaching the 100,000 customer milestone was also pretty special. Bizarrely, my actual career highlight happened while buying a newspaper at a newsagent in North London. While waiting in the queue, I overheard two women discussing JustPark and how one had made £50 last week from renting out her parking space.
How do you think that maths graduates would benefit from following your chosen career?
I love being my own boss and just like with a Maths degree, there are plenty of problems to solve, sums to add up and strategic decision to make. Finally, the satisfaction in winning a business deal or hitting a milestone provides a similar rush to proving a difficult theorem or solving some ridiculously convoluted equation!
Why did you choose to study maths?
Ever since I was a young boy, numbers has been my language of choice. My father studied maths and through an early introduction to Chess, I have always concentrated on developing the logical, analytical and strategic part of my brain.
Why did you choose Leeds?
Leeds had a great reputation as being a leading university, fantastic social scene but most importantly for me, the opportunity to study over at Berkeley in California.
What are your favourite memories of studying at Leeds?
There are too many to list. My favourite memory had to be fresher’s week in my first year. Making new friends, having no responsibility, no pressures and being well away from parents.
What do you think appeals most to students studying at Leeds’ School of Mathematics?
The mathematics community/society brought all maths students together at regular intervals. From chatting about last night’s adventures on the “comfy chairs” to rushing some coursework 5 minutes before the tutorial together in the cafe, there were always people buzzing about and willing to help or invite you to the next social event.
What would you say to other students thinking of coming to Leeds University?
The thing that makes Leeds stand above other universities are the opportunities to study anywhere in the world as part of your degree. Europe, west and east coast of the US and even the Far East are just a UCAS application away. Add to that great teaching, on site and modern facilities and a world beating social scene makes Leeds a great place to study.