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How Frequent Parking Tickets Prompted Two Friends to Start a Business

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WinIt is a New York City-based app that’s helping drivers manage and dispute parking and traffic tickets. We sat down with co-founder Ouriel Lemmel to find out why he started WinIt and his experience using CoverWallet.

Tell me about your business, how did you first get started?

It started in 2015 when my partner and I were driving in the city and we were getting a lot of tickets. We realized there needed to be a solution for everyday drivers to dispute and manage their tickets.

For us, it was really frustrating not knowing what to do, and I think a lot of drivers aren’t aware of parking and traffic rules so they don’t understand why they’ve been issued a ticket and how to respond to them.

There are over 60 million tickets issued every year in the U.S -- that’s over 2 tickets every second. We are creating a solution to give every driver a better tool to manage their tickets and access to a fair hearing.

The way it works is quite simple. For parking tickets, users only need to enter their license plate information in the app. We’ll then search for any open tickets and users can select the tickets they want to fight. The ticket submission process is very easy and fast. We handle everything from there.

We’ll prepare the case and go to court on the users behalf. If we’re able to win the ticket, we charge the user 50% of the fine amount. If we can’t win, there are no costs to the user. Beyond disputing tickets we also make it easy to manage. Once your license plate is registered in our app we will alert you every time you're issued another ticket, and if we don’t win your case, you can pay the ticket right from the app.

To date, we’ve gotten over $10 million worth of tickets dismissed, and have processed over 600,000 tickets.

For traffic tickets, users can use our app to access experienced attorneys in their area and hire them directly to represent their cases in court.

What’s next for your business, are you thinking of expanding to new cities?

Yeah, as I said, a lot of tickets get issued every day so the idea is to keep growing and make our simple, easy-to-use model available to more drivers.

As a business owner yourself, what’s the one piece of advice you would give to someone thinking of starting their own business?

I think one of the most important factors is to ensure that your business idea is relevant, that you’re solving a real need. Another crucial part includes knowing and understanding your addressable market. You might have a smart idea but if there’s no market for it, you won’t be successful. In our case, the size of the market has played to our success. Our app has been downloaded over half a million times because we're really solving a need for a lot of people.

Tell me how you found CoverWallet and what the customer experience has been like for you.

I found CoverWallet on Google while looking for insurance. I was really pleased with the whole process and you guys were very knowledgeable and the process was very smooth.

If you live in New York City and want to dispute a parking or traffic ticket, you can do it here, and you can follow WinIt on Facebook and Twitter.