Alex Miningham, 29

4 Posted by - September 29, 2014 - 2014, Tampa 2014

President, Discount Park and Ride

From a young age, Alex Miningham was an entrepreneur. As a kid, he’d sell lemonade with his brother. In high school, he started a car audio company. In grad school at Florida State, he started a software company with his professor.

He’s also become an expert in pivoting and adapting technology to meet a business need. The software company he started in grad school was a resource for graduate students to connect with Fortune 500 companies. A year and a half into development, he realized there was a bigger need for data compilation to help schools stay in touch with alumni. “So we pivoted and went in that direction.” It was a good move — Miningham’s company was acquired by HEPdata Inc. in 2012.

After the company sold, a friend persuaded Miningham to invest in a brick-and-mortar airport and seaport parking company. Miningham quickly realized there was an opportunity to build a better reservation aggregator to fill extra parking spots, one that would allow management of facility listings and provide access to data.

He wasn’t wrong. Thus far, Miningham has secured two rounds of venture capital to fund his idea, the first raising $1.02 million, the second $1.35 million. His site launched in March, and has quickly grown to 60 parking company partners in 23 airport markets and cruise ports.

Miningham’s best advice for future entrepreneurs is that “it’s rare to get it right the first time,” he says. “You have to sit back in the beginning and do a lot of due diligence and competitive analysis before you put everything in.”

— Traci McMillan Beach

 

Q&A

City of residence: Tampa

Birthplace: Belgium

Years on the Gulf Coast: 15

Marital status/children: Married/0 children

Alma mater: Florida State University

Best place to network: The airplane. I’ve found that some of the best business relationships I’ve built have blossomed from initial conversations I’ve had with seat mates on long haul transcontinental flights.

Coolest business experience: Pitching my first venture capital firm at age 23.

The most important business lesson I’ve learned: Don’t be afraid to take risks. Sometimes waiting too long to pivot or make a change to a business model could mean the difference between a business’s success or failure.

One website that makes your job easier: LinkedIn

One community group you’re most involved with: CUPS – Channel District Urban Professionals Society

Favorite off-hours activity: Golf

Two people, dead or alive, you’d like to have dinner with: Richard Branson and Elon Musk

Best award you ever received: Winner of the 2012 Alabama Launchpad Business Plan Competition

Most adventurous thing you’ve ever done: The most adventurous thing I’ve ever done was forego a job search after college in order to pursue a startup business idea.

What’s at the top of your bucket list: To visit space on a Virgin Galactic flight.

What new skill would you like to learn: computer programming

Who would play you in a movie about your life: Matt Damon

If I had a magic wand I’d: Introduce more startup incubators across the country to make it easier for entrepreneurs and early-stage companies to get their ideas off the ground.

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