“We always said that we are about the information,” MonkeyParking co-founder and CEO Paolo Dobrowolny told The San Francisco Examiner through Skype from Rome on Thursday. “We came up with this model after a lot of trials. What we learned is the parking process needs a lot of information because there are a lot of variables –- it’s not just the spot. There’s the side of the street, the color of the car, and so many details.”
In the cease-and-desist letter, City Attorney Dennis Herrera ordered the Rome-based startup, which launched in San Francisco in late April and allows users with secured parking spots to charge $5, $10, or $20 to people seeking them, to close its business no later than July 11. Motorists would face $300 fines for each violation and MonkeyParking could be liable for penalties of up to $2,500 per transaction.
But in a post on its website Thursday, MonkeyParking stated: “The real issue here is that a local ordinance is being misapplied to wrongfully target our service.”
Dobrowolny, 32, added his company is working with legal counsel to disseminate the message that MonkeyParking is a transaction around information, and is “not worried” about the City Attorney’s order.
“We will try to understand each other,” he said. “We’re not going to stop it because we do not think there is something wrong with it, but there is something to be understood and regulated and maybe integrated into the municipality to provide a valuable service.”