Startups in Calgary bring innovation to the masses
With tech startups on the rise in Calgary, businesses such as MowSnowPros and Parkchamp are experiencing great success.
Parkchamp was founded by Maggie Young and Alex Chalamova. It’s a free application that allows people to reserve and pay for parking spots all through their smartphones.
Parkchamp also offers cheaper alternatives for parking spots within a kilometre of the SAIT campus.
Young said that if a student had an exam coming up, they would be able to book a nearby parking spot up to two weeks in advance.
The application even shows users the directions on how to get to their parking spot so they won’t have any issues locating the stall.
Chalamova, alongside another partner developer, designed and developed the mobile application.
Young and Chalamova were working on Parkchamp all while studying at the University of Calgary, Young is majoring in communications and media studies and Chalamova is working towards a degree in computer science.
When it came to working on Parkchamp, Young said that it was an “all or nothing
“It sort of takes a lot of time,” said Young, “More than I expected.”
Young was also working a part-time job on top of Parkchamp and her studies. She said that she struggled when it came to balancing and scheduling her time.
Parkchamp’s popularity has grown rapidly since its release. Their downtown stalls are completely rented out and Young said that they are focusing on increasing the availability of parking spots in the area.
According to Statistics Canada, Canada had the largest increase of employment in the professional, scientific and technical services industry as of June 2017.
Employment rose by 66,000 within the span of 12 months.
MowSnowPros, another successful startup within Calgary, is an on-demand contract-free snow removal and lawn mowing application.
The application is much like landscaping meets Uber. How it works is that the user requests a job to be done, the request is sent out to contractors with MowSnowPro, and the job is completed within 24 hours.
CEO and founder of MowSnowPros, Aidan Klingbeil, said that the inspiration for MowSnowPros came from his own experience during university and high school when he shovelled snow and mowed lawns around his community.
This work allowed him to pay for his university.
Klingbeil said that the company is always hiring and looking for more MowSnowPros, and can be a way to earn side income.
Contractors must provide their own equipment for the jobs.
MowSnowPros started as a simple website in 2015. The website had a form where people could fill up their information for contract-free and on-demand lawn mowing or snow removal.
Klingbeil added that this was a way for him to see if there was a market for
It took less than a year for an application to be launched in June 2016.
With success comes sacrifice.
Klingbeil said he quit his job to focus on MowSnowPros, and moved into his grandmother’s basement to cut costs on his expenses.
Another sacrifice, Klingbeil said, was going with the entrepreneur route as compared to most of his peers from business school graduating and getting full-time salary jobs.
Klingbeil said that his favourite part about working for himself was the flexibility with the hours.
“Of course, sometimes there’s the opposite effect when things get busy there’s no flexibility,” said Klingbeil.
However, he said that it’s worth it for the times he’s able to take the day off if necessary and to be able to work later in the day.