Founder and CEO of Pavemint: Randall Jamail
Some entrepreneurs have an understated essence about them, but when you delve deeper into their journey of success you come to know that they are pushing serious boundaries and letting nothing stop them from making their dreams come true. Randall Jamail is one of those entrepreneurs. He is an entrepreneur, inventor, and investor. After founding Justice Records in 1989, Randall turned it into a smashing success, working with artists such as Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash, gaining worldwide distribution and a Grammy Nomination, and being named Independent Label of the Year by R&R Publication.
From there, Jamail went on to invent a patented technology that unlocked unused space on compact discs and DVDs and allowed producers to embed content/media that could be accessed on demand. It was during this time that his interest in creating technology to help make people’s lives easier grew.
Years later, when Jamail happened to be passing a stadium in Austin, Texas, he had an epiphany: what if, instead of standing outside with signs advertising parking, residents could list parking spaces for drivers to rent on demand or in advance, via an app? From there, Pavemint was born–a peer-to-peer marketplace that connects people looking for parking with people who have parking to share. Over the course of the next two years, Jamail built up the team from a few people to a staff of over 40.
Pavemint, which launched on Oct. 3rd in Los Angeles, currently has over 4,000 VIP private parking spaces available to drivers in prime areas of the city, more than any other P2P parking app on the market. Their mission is to help drivers reach their destinations more quickly and easily and help residents make extra income, all while reducing traffic and CO2 emissions in Los Angeles.
What does it mean to be an entrepreneur?
In order to be an entrepreneur, you must have a vision and be able to build upon an idea. I believe that the engine that drives us is taking those ideas and creating the building blocks that form a pathway to our fully-matured vision. Another one of our biggest jobs as entrepreneurs is as communicators. We communicate our vision to attract a team. We communicate our vision to attract investors. We communicate our vision to attract partners that align with us strategically. Our vision is our currency and our ability to communicate that vision is what makes or breaks the inception of each venture as an entrepreneur.
How did you start your business or come up with your product idea?
In 2014, I was asked to consult a group who were exploring a business model the centered around the peer-to-peer exchange of public parking spaces. During that time, while attending a UT football game, I saw the usual residents selling off their spare parking spaces to fans attending the game and an idea began to percolate in my mind. Later, I had a driver drop me off as close as possible to the entrance of the Austin City Limits Music Festival (which was about a half-mile away). As we were driving, I saw thousands of people walking miles to get to the entrance and wondered where they had parked. That’s when the gears fully clicked into place and I thought, “Holy shit, that’s it!”
The next day I contacted the group I was consulting for and told them that they needed to consider a new model: a peer-to-peer marketplace that connects people looking for parking at events with people who have spaces to share. As a record industry executive for many years, having co-founded Day For Night and founded both Justice Records and Justice Music Publishing, I was all too familiar with the fact that drivers were in need of better parking options for concerts, and that this app could be the solution.
While the group I was consulting for wasn’t as excited about the model as I was, they agreed to consider it. As we did more research on the parking problems in Austin and beyond, however, the research showed that the need for parking was not isolated to events. Instead, it seemed to be a universal problem in need of an intuitive parking solution.
A few days later, while I was at the bar at the Sunset Marquis Hotel, I began showing some logo ideas to the woman sitting next to me who worked in marketing. As I explained my idea, she said, “Oh, you’re talking about Airbnb for parking.” The next day, I hired her and she is now Pavemint’s Executive VP and Chief Brand Officer.
As for the group that I was consulting for, they ultimately decided that they did not want to move forward with the model I had proposed. Because I had been working with them when the idea came to me, I paid them to release me from any non-compete and had them then sign one with me. That day, Pavemint was born.
What is the most challenging thing about being an entrepreneur?
The most challenging thing about being an entrepreneur is also the most rewarding: our need and ability to envision the future. After all, we are selling the future. It’s a formidable task but can also be the most rewarding, because it means we are also selling a dream.
The most rewarding?
The most rewarding thing about being an entrepreneur is seeing your vision come to life. After all of the time dedicated to a project, that moment the product launches makes it all worthwhile.
What is your business mission?
I decided after working for years as a record producer and executive that if I was going to use my time and energy to start something from scratch again, it would need to be towards a project that would leave the world a better place to live. Pavemint’s mission is to reduce the 30% of city traffic due to the way we currently park, and the 4.2 million tons of CO2 dumped into LA’s air every year, in addition to helping people arrive happier and giving residents extra income. The more we expand, the more communities we can reach, and, in turn, improve. While my children might not understand it today, the time I have to be away from them is spent on furthering an enterprise that betters their world. I realize that may sound “holier than thou” but I do believe that, as entrepreneurs, we have a choice to build our vision on principles contribute to a solution. If the daily choices we make as a company reflect the mission we say we stand for, we will attract those who give us the best chance of success. It has never been more important to be authentic and create a culture that our team and our board are proud to represent.
What have been major obstacles/stepping stones that you overcame to achieve your success?
The biggest obstacle thus far has been to change how people think about parking. Until now, parking has always been a reactive decision. We have had to wait until we arrive at our destination and see what parking opportunities are available. Now, with Pavemint, you can be proactive. As soon as you decide to go somewhere, you have the power to determine where you will park and secure that parking place before you leave. However, informing people of that paradigm shift and convincing them of this new power is our greatest challenge.
What makes your business different from others of its kind?
We made the decision to launch our technology as a maximum value product. The trend in technology has been to launch a bare-bones or minimum viable product. Instead, we launched with a product that is as dynamic as other startup’s later versions. We took the risk to invest more capital to launch with a rich experience for our users. There was more risk because the development cost has been higher than most startups are willing to risk on their product. However, I believe that the demands of consumers have increased now to the level that if they are going to invest their time in an environment it must give them a rich experience, and that is what Pavemint is here to provide.
Where do you see your business development/growth within the next 5 years?
Five years from now, autonomous vehicles will prevail across the nation and those vehicles will require hyper-localized parking, because people are not going to wait for their rides to arrive. Acceptable waiting times are going to shrink, and therefore cars are going to be ever closer to us. While less and less of us will own cars, we will still own driveways. Those driveways will then be fully monetized as the resting place for when the autonomous vehicles are not in use. It will be too expensive to build parking on a hyper-localized basis because property values will be too high. Pavemint will be the answer to keeping our vehicles near enough meet our demand for instant gratification.
If you had to give a piece of advice to aspiring entrepreneurs out there, what would it be?
My advice is simple. Love what you do. The life (especially early on in the process) of an entrepreneur can be lonely. Constantly validating your own ideas and convincing others to climb on board and share your vision can be challenging. So, love what you are doing and your passion will be authentic. I also believe it is crucial to ensure that giving back to the community is intertwined with your mission. We can change the world if we each contribute in a meaningful way to our various communities.
What is “success” to you? DEFINE success.
Success is the realization of your vision, pivots and all. At Pavemint, if we become a profitable company while having a positive effect on our community, we will have succeeded. When we are able to measure a reduction in carbon emissions and have made a measurable impact on traffic congestion, we will have truly succeeded in the fulfillment of our business model and our mission.
Have you discovered a personal purpose in what you do?
I am so fortunate and grateful that I have been able to co-create a company that reflects my personal values. There is so much joy to be had from empowering others and leading from a step behind. I feel lucky to be able to watch everyone who works at Pavemint paint meaningful brushstrokes on our mural.
Where do you see the sharing economy heading next?
The sharing economy will drive the decentralization of currencies. Whether it is the further development of digital currencies or throwbacks to the bartering of centuries past, the power to create the currencies we trade in will be democratized. The sharing economy will inspire and fuel a renaissance for entrepreneurs.
Where do you see your business development/growth within the next 5 years?
I see Pavemint as the leader in repurposing existing parking spaces. We will be the last mile in home delivery and the first mile in private transportation.
How do you balance your professional and personal life?
This is my third project for me as an entrepreneur. I have six children and, I must admit, they were victims during my first two rounds. My older children have been honest with me about the price that they had to pay in order for me to follow my passion and I have worked hard at making up for it since. With my daughter still at home, their honesty motivated me to ensure that I am not an absent father for her. I have committed to cooking all of her meals from scratch, including her school lunches. That promise (to myself) alone provides the necessary balance.
If you had to name the top three most influential people in the world today, who would they be?
First, my six children, because it is my desire to make them proud that inspires me. Second, my younger self. It is my younger self and those mistakes that inspire and guide me today. Third; well, I’ll have to give that one more thought.
Wow! Randall is a true forward thinker, by successfully solving the futures problems, today. That is the mark of a natural born entrepreneur. If he can take an idea and turn it into reality. We think you can too. Follow your dreams. Go for it!