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Gurugram-based Park+ is a hidden gem in the transportation space and a superapp for your car that helps you find and book parking space, recharge FASTag, get daily car cleaning, view e-challans, check car health, buy and renew insurance and more. Founded by former Paytm VP (business) Amit Lakhotia and former head of engineering (payments) Hitesh Gupta in 2019, the technology-first company aims to simplify the process of owning and maintaining a car.
Park+ has a presence in more than 20 cities and is the largest distributor of FASTags and access control systems in India besides having the largest inventory of parking slots in the country.
As the calendar flipped to 2023, the car-tech company raised INR 140 crore in its Series C round from marquee investors including Epiq Capital, Matrix Partners India and Sequoia Capital India. The latest funding has increased the startup’s valuation to $340 million, twice the previous valuation of $155 million during its Series B funding in October 2021. Zomato has also backed the company heavily. Additionally, it acquired the parking-space booking platform Otopark in 2021.
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AIM got in touch with Hitesh Gupta, co-founder and chief technology officer of Park+ to know more about how the company leveraged data science to stay ahead of the curve. Gupta previously served as the head of Paytm Wallet in 2014 and has 16 years of experience co-founding PayMonk and holding leadership positions at Midtrans and Oxigen, among other companies.
“We aim to bring delight back to car ownership by providing seamless services to end-users through collaboration with core service providers such as auto OEMs, car insurers, after-sales service providers, maintenance providers, car dealers, and banks,” said Gupta.
Read more: Data Science Hiring Process at Livspace
Park+ is currently hiring for data science roles, specifically for the position of data analyst. There are three positions available for this Gurugram-based role. Besides full-time employees, Park+ also employs engineering interns who are eventually absorbed into the company for permanent roles.
AI & Analytics Play at Park+
Park+ utilises AI and data-tracking to offer a wide range of services related to car ownership. These include monitoring driving habits to help users understand fuel consumption, detecting dents and scratches with 360° video, suggesting nearby hospitals in case of a car accident, recommending content based on user preferences, predicting car selling prices, FASTag management, identifying parking hotspots, providing EV charging recommendations, suggesting upcoming maintenance schedules, and tracking car entry and exit within a geo-fenced location.
In addition, the company provides a unique service where users can send a video of their car to service centres for assessment, instead of physically going in. This service is made possible by data science techniques that allow the team to assess the damage and provide repair estimates remotely.
The company also uses data science to track stolen cars, leveraging data points from cameras and RFID tags to help identify the car’s location and aid in recovery efforts. The data science team comprises about 10 people and forms the central team which injects tons of loaded raw data to give meaningful output.
“At Park+, our data science team plays a pivotal role in sifting through the unstructured data collected through various peripherals like cameras, IOT sensors or different data services. Pulling data and statistics is the next step, which allows us to build proprietary models to cater to various business use cases. Model evaluation and tuning allows us to streamline our services, improve customer experience and enhance partner collaboration at all levels,” said Gupta on how the data science team adds value to the company.
The primary skill that the team looks for in any potential candidate is adaptability – they must be able to learn and unlearn quickly. The candidate must have a deep understanding of machine learning, advanced analytics, advanced maths, programming as well as data visualisation.
A B.Tech in computer science or any other related field is mandatory.
However, during hiring, the organisation does not prioritise candidates with specific programming language skills. Instead, the focus is on their design abilities and logical acumen. During interviews, questions based specifically on a programming language are not asked. Instead, candidates are given design problems to solve with the freedom to use any technology they prefer.
Secondly, the team also focuses heavily on data structures and a hands-on experience in it is an advantage.
The tech team uses Python and Golang as programming languages and uses a microservice-based architecture with the storage of MySQL, Elasticsearch, Mongo DB, Cassandra, among others. The data science team uses GPT and Transformer models, too.
From an intern to the founder, Park+ believes in open communication and goes with a flat hierarchy. “We primarily go for IC roles. Everybody in our team is a hands-on guy, including me. I still write code, and we hire people who believe in it. So we all are individual contributors rather than managers,” said Gupta.
Park+ expects employees to be individual contributors, work closely with the product team, take initiatives to solve problems, and build a future-first model.
Dos and Don’ts
One of the most common mistakes that candidates make during interviews is that they don’t talk in detail about themselves or their work. They often jump to conclusions quickly without thinking them through. Park+ looks for people who love to play with technology and see it as a hobby instead of a mere task. It does not matter which language you are not well-versed in because Park+ gives you ample opportunity to learn and grow with them.
Park+ boasts of an inclusive and diverse team as they have a 40:60 male-to-female ratio. The average employee age is 25. There are people from various backgrounds, cultures, and genders all working together towards the common goal of creating something meaningful. There are no cubicles or closed doors. Instead, people work collaboratively in open spaces that encourage communication and approachability. Everyone is encouraged to work on multiple projects and technologies, regardless of their role or level of experience. There’s no limit to what anyone can achieve.
The company takes care of its employees in a big way. There’s an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) that allows everyone to own a piece of the company, along with insurance coverage. They also provide celebration holidays or monthly no-question-asked leave for women or the weekly work-from-home option for mothers, among other perks.
“If you have a good background in technology, are excited to work in an offline space, are willing to work as individual contributors and are a good mentor, you are definitely the right fit for us,” concluded Gupta.
Check out this link to apply.