Professor Riccardo Maiolini Welcomes CEO of Parko Khaled Atef

Your team members are the first people you are selling your ideas to.

 ~ Khaled Atef 

On October 9, 2023, John Cabot University welcomed Khaled Atef, CEO of Parko and Fontanabella, to Professor Riccardo Maiolini’s Strategic Decisions in Entrepreneurship class. Interested in technology solutions for smart cities, Atef graduated with a degree in Robotics and Automation Engineering from the University of Tor Vergata in Rome. Leveraging his entrepreneurial spirit and coupling it with extensive academic and professional experience, Atef has developed sustainable projects in the context of efficient urban management. 

Parko logo
Parko Smart City

Atef presented an overview of his startup Parko, an innovative platform that aims to resolve the issue of parking in Rome through the use of an app combined with IoT (Internet of Things) recycled sensors. By monitoring the streets of Rome in real time, Parko gives customers information on the status of parking spaces and charging stations for electric cars. Parko has a positive impact on air quality, traffic congestion, and tourism, and supports the vision of a smart city of the future.

Parko won first place at the Diversity Innovation Festival during Rome Future Week 2023, and it has established prestigious partnerships with various institutions, including Qatar University. During the lecture, JCU students were interested in understanding the key lessons learned by Atef in his Parko journey. First, he explained how having an enthusiastic and supportive team is essential in business because collaboration improves efficiency and enhances outcomes. He also realized that competitors can inspire creative ideas and progress, as they push the company towards innovation and originality. Atef concluded his lecture by stressing the importance of establishing long-term and recurring customer relationships by using several strategic tools such as subscription models, promotional campaigns, loyalty programs, client feedback surveys, etc.   

The main takeaways from this lecture are that an innovative mindset, a highly motivated team, and a healthy assessment of the competitive environment are some of the most important factors for successful startups. Most importantly, business projects should not exclusively be based on the entrepreneur’s vision but should also value the team’s insights and real customer needs.

(Giorgia Natalizia)