DOWNTOWN — Thomas Lombardi is the President and CEO of AirportParkingReservations.com and ParkSleepFly.com, the world’s largest Internet aggregators of airport parking and hotel packages.
Q: Give us your background and a bit about how you became an entrepreneur?
A: I have a non-entrepreneurial background in banking and private equity. We wore pleated pants and worked in spreadsheets all day. An Internet travel company asked me to run an acquisition process for them back in 2010, and now I am their CEO. The transition from the institutionalized banking system into the entrepreneurial tech world was a blessing.
Q: What does your company do? What distinguishes you from competitors or similar businesses?
A: We help millions of travelers find airport parking and airport hotels packages. Our future venture will also include airport taxis, limos, rideshare and public transportation to provide a one-stop-shop for airport transportation. I have 22 amazing teammates to blaze our path into the future.
Q: What is one free piece of advice/tip/insight you can give an aspiring or new entrepreneur?
A: Instead of creating a business plan, just go create the business. Buy a domain name for 10 bucks, build a free WordPress website in a day, create a ton of interesting content, and that will be your live business plan for prospective customers and investors.
Q: How is your company changing the world?
A: Consumers are entitled to transparency of what products or services they are purchasing. Parking is one of those opaque industries where you don’t always know what you are paying for until you pay for it. We are shining a bright light on the industry so that consumers get all the information they need. We’ve heard from our parking partners that this is pushing them to be better operators.
Q: Why did you choose to locate in Santa Monica?
A: I chose our office location in Santa Monica because of the local talent from tech companies/universities and it’s the city I call home. My wife and I lived here during grad school and we’re excited to call Santa Monica home for years to come.
Q: What do you think of the Santa Monica scene these days, e.g. “Silicon Beach?”
A: The Silicon Beach moniker is good for cultivating talent and entrepreneurship. We have a long way to go to catch up to Silicon Valley, but the weather here is way better.
Q: One thing you’d like to share with the locals of Santa Monica?
A: The Big Blue Bus is a great resource for getting around town. The fewer cars we have on the street, the better. Grab a buck and hitch a ride. We all know how hard it is to find parking.