6 minute read
Brothers Joshua Gonzalez and Oscar Gonzalez are Founders and Directors of PKUP. Currently operating in Sydney, Brisbane and Canberra, PKUP provides a 24-hour mobility-service app that enables customers to request an on-demand driver to take them home in their own car.
Oscar completed his Bachelor of Finance and Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) at The Australian National University (ANU) in 2018, one year after Joshua graduated from the ANU College of Business and Economics (CBE) with a Bachelor of Economics. In 2019, they were recipients of the Young Canberra Citizen of the Year Award in recognition of their business skills and commitment to the community.
In this interview, they give us an insight into their entrepreneurial spirit, plans for international expansion and tell us how their ANU degrees equipped them for running their own business.
Q. Can you tell us about your career path and what led you to the role you're in today?
We were always looking for “side hustles”, from pet sitting, to flipping iPhones online; we were always keen to try to make an extra buck. While studying at ANU, we got the idea to develop a service where you can book a driver to drive your car.
Eager to start a business, we created a website, got a business phone number and off we went. We got to the point where we were driving people’s cars from 6pm to 6am on weekends and getting our family to help us out during the busy nights.
When we finished our studies at ANU, we decided to take on PKUP full-time.
Q. What is the unique value proposition of PKUP?
Driving a car takes time and effort, and can be a huge problem if you are unable to drive or don’t have the time.
For example, common issues include getting your car home when you've had a few drinks at the pub; being unable to drive due to an injury or medical procedure; and getting your car to the service centre when it's booked in for repairs.
PKUP solves all of these problems by having someone else drive your car.
Q. How has PKUP’s business model evolved during the COVID-19 pandemic?
The COVID-19 restrictions intend to restrict the movement of people. This meant that customers using PKUP to get themselves and their car home after enjoying a night out, all stopped requiring our services, so we had to adapt quickly.
We started offering a vehicle pick-up and drop-off service to car dealerships, service centres, and repair shops. It’s a great option for people who have their vehicle booked in for servicing but are reluctant to leave home or are in isolation.
Similarly, with home quarantine quickly evolving and becoming a common reality, we are looking at providing a vehicle drop-off service for people who have arrived from overseas and are unable to use rideshare or public transport. PKUP can collect their car and take it to the airport, so they can drive to their place of quarantine without interacting with other members of the community.
Q. Tell us about your ongoing plan for international expansion.
Being born and raised in Canberra, it was a sensible and obvious choice to start PKUP in Australia. However, our intention is to expand PKUP into international markets.
We would like to expand into New Zealand, the United States, China, and more. We believe PKUP provides a service that the whole world needs access to.
Q. You both have run PKUP since 2016. What is the one lesson that you would tell yourselves five years ago about running your own business?
Have fun with it!
The best thing about PKUP has always been the relationships we have made, the people we have met and the memories we have made along the way.
Q. How do you take advantage of each other’s different strengths while running the business?
By ensuring that we both understand PKUP’s vision and what we are trying to achieve. We have created a team that has full trust in each other.
We recognise that we both have strengths and weaknesses, and continue to learn the positives about each other.
Q. How did your ANU experience prepare you for your career?
ANU taught us to manage our time and prioritise tasks, and most importantly, gave us the discipline and consistency to show up every day and give it our all.
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