VADE: Democratizing parking data
Parking in major cities is often an inconvenience at best. After Ritwik Pavan realized the challenges of parking were regularly causing him to be either 20 minutes early or late to his meetings, he knew there had to be a better solution than playing the parking lottery on a daily basis.
Ritwik launched VADE along with co-founders Matty Schaefer and Christian Burke. The team wasted no time getting right to the heart of the problem, and started where many other companies in the smart parking sector had failed: they went directly to key decision makers to discuss their needs. This led to a successful pilot parking solution and a real-world case study which has been operating on the streets of Raleigh over the past few months.
After those initial in-depth conversations with potential customers, VADE determined that the most effective solution to the parking issue would be a camera module that could be installed at no upfront cost to cities. Doing this enabled VADE to sidestep the long sales cycles that had slowed many of their competitors.
In addition to their robust go-to-market strategy, the cameras VADE installs are equally as resilient. Their camera modules are solar-powered, with backup batteries equipped with LTE. This allows for quick installation of the modules, which have a lifespan of three to five years.
These units are only the tip of the iceberg. At its core, VADE is a data company that licenses their computer vision insights. They are also sensitive to privacy, and do not store images that correspond with the data.
Some people love coming up with ideas that will change the world, while others love getting their hands dirty and making those things happen. Though Ritwik values both, he explains that no matter how great of an idea you have, it all comes down to execution – that’s what really makes the difference.
So why don’t more people launch their own company? There are tons of ideas out there that can change the world, but the friction of bringing those ideas to life often stops efforts dead in their tracks. Additionally, Ritwik says that most people just don’t know about the resources that are available to them. Many of these resources he’s referring to are centered in RTP, where VADE is now headquartered.
Although he grew up in Cary, he did not choose to make his company’s home at Venture X in RTP simply because it was convenient. “Having seen all the tech companies emerge over here and growing up in Cary, I thought that this was a place that I could see being like an East Coast Silicon Valley.”
In RTP, Ritwik surrounds himself with passionate people who are open minded about learning from others. The company and community he’s creating seek to enjoy every aspect of what they’re doing, and are driven simply because they’re passionate about their work and the impact it will have. The team at VADE and the companies they work with, like Connected Development, seeks to approach every challenge that they encounter with excellence and expect the same from their peers.
This excellence couldn’t be more evident than in VADE’s unique approach to how they have avoided the pitfalls of similar companies that came before them. Their competitive advantage is closely tied with how they overcame their biggest obstacle: getting the product implemented as quickly as possible.
As the world of technology progresses, data is becoming the fuel we rely on to run our world. VADE is powering city planning initiatives, wayfinding apps, as well as parking enforcement applications with their valuable data.
“Success is pursuing something that you’re passionate about, doing a really good job of it, and touching as many lives as possible,” Ritwik says. That’s exactly what him and his team have done and will continue to do with VADE. In mid-August he closed a $500k seed round with hedge fund billionaire Julian Robertson. He’s accomplishing all this at the age of 22 while wrapping up his last semester of college. He is extremely grateful for the breadth and depth of resources he’s had available to him in Raleigh-Durham and RTP. With his incredible work ethic, Ritwik is setting an example of what it means to change the world.