If you find yourself driving a car and need a place to park, Roamy Valera wants to help you. Roamy is the CEO, US and Canada, of PayByPhone, one of the fastest growing parking applications in the world. When running errands, heading out for dinner, or traveling to a different city, parking isn’t always on your mind. Cashless, effortless, and fast, his technology is changing how we think about parking. We sat down with Roamy and asked him how he’s going to use his new role as CEO to change how people think about technology and parking, and how he applies the best advice he’s received to his business.
How did you get started in the parking business?
I came to the United States from Cuba just shy of my 13th birthday. I had a good work ethic and when I was old enough, I started working as a parking enforcement officer, writing parking tickets for the city of Miami. I rose through the ranks and after about eight years I went to Virginia to lead training and development for the International Parking Institute. After a variety of leadership roles in the industry, today I’m the North American CEO of PayByPhone and couldn’t be happier.
You’ve been CEO for seven months. What’s been the biggest eye-opener for you so far?
I think for me it’s been the number of opportunities that we have in the fintech or payment space where we can really influence and impact the customer experience. Our technology significantly helps reduce the friction that exists today in that space, and specifically in parking. Knowing how much we can do with our technology to address that friction is exciting and I’m excited about what our future holds.
For a consumer, the visibility of data changes behavior.
What’s kept you interested in the parking business for more than 30 years?
The amount of change that has taken place is just amazing. The technology and integrations we have now are leaps and bounds ahead of what we had just 8 years ago in the industry. I love being able to meld the technology, the product, and the clients in a way to reduce friction and create a great customer experience. Collecting data and the influence of technology has made that positive customer experience much more real and given us a chance to create a lot of solutions that would couldn’t have done before.
Where are you looking to expand?
When we think about our current product, we’re thinking about maps and increased visibility to these parking assets. For a consumer, the visibility of data changes behavior. We understand that if we can personalize and make data work for the consumer in ways that adds value we’re going to win. In Miami, for example, our Spanish language version of the app has been downloaded more than 50,000 times, which means people are able to conduct business in their own language and increase usage. The technology we’re using there to reduce the need to circle the block looking for a space adds value. All of it is data driven and when we can put that into the hands of the customer it changes behavior.
What’s been the best advice you’ve received?
If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room. It reminds me that the most important thing I can do is hire super stars and put together the best team possible with the most passion, and that’s what we try to do at PayByPhone.