A new startup, Fixed, is helping San Francisco residents fight parking tickets with a mobile app.
David Hegarty and DJ Burdick cofounded Fixed last fall after Hegarty received five parking tickets in three weeks. Hegarty knew how to contest tickets, but he realised that his friends didn’t and often just paid the fine.
“I’m a stickler for protesting all my parking tickets,” he told Business Insider over the phone. “I really think it’s a racket by the city. It’s become a form of revenue. When you start giving officers quotas, people lose respect for the [authorities issuing] parking tickets,” he says.
In San Francisco, there are a number of ways to get parking tickets contested. Fixed’s team of seven look for errors on the ticket write-ups; sometimes police neglect to fill out mandatory line items, which gets drivers off the hook.
The startup also uses Google Street View to look at signage where tickets are issued; if a parking sign can’t be seen by a reasonably observant person, tickets can often be waived.
Without much effort, the startup got noticed by Square founder Jack Dorsey who tweeted about it along with Ivanka Trump. By the end of that week, Hegarty says 25,000 people had signed up for Fixed’s waitlist.
In March, Fixed launched its iPhone app, which asks users to take photos of their tickets. For every ticket Fixed gets waived, it charges 25% of the fee the person would have had to pay.
If Fixed doesn’t get the ticket waived, it will pay the ticket with a pre-uploaded credit card. Hegarty says his team processes about 300 tickets per week.
The startup recently raised a $US1.2 million seed round from Y Combinator, Merus Capital, and angel investors. Hegarty hopes to expand Fixed to the nation’s top 100 cities within two years.
To get an idea how much money San Francisco makes issuing parking tickets, take a look at the chart below.
“There are a lot of times where the little guy gets screwed,” Hegarty says of his startup’s mission. “For most people it’s really hard to fight [a big company] the first time…That’s a perfect problem to get solved by software.”