Our Alternative Story
We are building the new
universe for marketplaces
Imagination is what we bring to reality. Alternative energy. Alternative food. Alternative finance. Alternative lifestyle. These are some of the voices we hear about every single day. There’s no way of ignoring it! The “What if” movement is here pushing for alternatives. It’s what challenged our team’s imagination to build an alternative universe, Sparqoverse, for marketplaces to connect. We believe our mission reflects the consumers and market players we serve.
Our reality was altered in March 2020 when the world shut down due to the Covid-19 outbreak. GParkPass, our first parking solutions project, lost 75% of its users within three weeks as cancelations spiked up. A big blow to the one year old project that was barely breaking even. In August 2020, several ideas were discussed and explored to bridge the lack of revenues and growth in user signups. Instead of pivoting, our co-founder, Nigel Mamon, decided to utilize its connections in the Asian community to expand the concept. A strategic move that worked as Asians are aggressive buyers of U.S consumer goods and are frequent wire transfer users to send money to friends and families.
By branding the applications and side hustling in private shopping with SwypeBox, shipping & logistics with Glide Parcel Systems, and remittances with ShuttleFi, the startup was able to generate a modest source of additional revenues to extend its runway.
Nigel Mamon, Co-founder of Sparqoverse, inside the first GParkPass parking location in downtown Jersey City, NJ. This facility hosted Bank of America/Merrill Lynch employees signed up to the service.
Nigel Mamon | Co-founder of Sparqoverse
The bootstrapped beginning
A little over a year before the pandemic, GParkPass started out with only $2,470 to rent two parking spaces for its two signed users, plus 100 day passes available for transient users. Bank of America/Merrill Lynch employees were the primary users of GParkPass in downtown Jersey City, NJ, a business center area on the Hudson River waterfront.
The founding idea of GParkPass was to offer hybrid parking by connecting additional services via usage and location patterns. Today, this Sparqoverse application is connecting long-term corporate and residential users to the platform.
Extend the runway
With limited resources, no extra money, and on month-to-month life support, the more creative and desperate we became to save the future of the startup. We thought of everything to earn a little more money, from cost cuts in SwypeBox’s shipping supplies, to seeking marketing sponsorship with an automaker for GParkPass, and a small operation in currency arbitrage through ShuttleFi.
During the decade 2010, Marvel’s superhero movies dominated entertainment. We noticed how Audi positioned its product placement in Marvel movies to gain market share from Mercedes Benz and BMW. Audi’s aggressive marketing push made us think that the automaker might be open to the idea of target marketing GParkPass subscribers. Our pitch was to target users who aren’t driving an Audi, since we have vehicle information data — make, model, color, and year. Then, it would be an easier direct interaction by using our link reservation platform.
To deliver the pitch to the right person, Nigel Mamon, did some research and reached out via cold email to Audi USA’s marketing director. The pitch proposal did get a response and review from its marketing team. Though GParkPass did not land any deal, we did learn feedback to how we can adjust our idea to fit their criteria because the door in seeking sponsorship is not closed.
A GParkPass pitch deck to Audi USA's marketing director to present an alternative form of target marketing.
A typical SwypeBox Sunday afternoon hauling in thrown out boxes picked up around the neighborhood streets to reuse for shipping.
It’s true! A neighborhood’s trash is a startup’s treasure. Before launching SwypeBox in August 2020, we needed shipping boxes in different size configurations to ship consolidated orders. Purchasing and labeling our own boxes would cost thousands of dollars to our supplies cost, which we couldn’t afford. As a solution, we walked around our neighborhood and went through recycle bins, to collect any small, medium, and large boxes in clean condition that are reusable. We then used these collected treasures to consolidate orders and shipped internationally. Fortunately, we knew someone who’s a partner for a local shipping company that gave us a few boxes of packaging tapes to help us. In total, a savings in supplies of around $10K helped SwypeBox’s bottom line.
Displayed foreign exchange rates to convert ShuttleFi remittances.
While SwypeBox’s order traffic picked up, the team already knew in the beginning about the high transaction costs in using financial services companies like Visa, MasterCard, Amex, Discover, Stripe, Square, and other global financial services.
As we were stuck in using legacy payment providers, a multi-step strategy was deployed, which involved foreign remittances by overseas workers. The buy and remit strategy proved to be a win-win solution that eventually paved the way for the ShuttleFi application.
In an unexpected reality, the strategy didn’t just save the startup from massive cross-border payment costs, but the solution itself became part of a founding blueprint. This scalable blueprint is what eventually would be a group of concepts connecting to form the Sparqoverse company.
Sparqoverse. A new launch
While our background is diversified, we are united with our message to jump start the alternative universe movement. The Sparqoverse blueprint launched in December 2021, divides the company into four segments: Krypton OP, ArqoX Wallet, DApps Library, and the Qron Treasury. By dividing these four in-house branches into a circulated system, Sparqoverse will be able to go after its mission to build a third generation platform. And, this is just the beginning of the alternative reality movement. We’re constantly working to move global commerce closer to a borderless and limitless community.
Sparqoverse is in a unique playground. Its core mission alone in building a new marketplace universe brings a lot of challenges to the company’s team, which is to innovate, think beyond the box, break down barriers, and come up with workable solutions in regulated areas. Because we’re just starting with our work, our commitment is to operate in a nucleus fashion toward a better future.
A post from Nigel Mamon | Co-founder of Sparqoverse
May 5, 2022
When I started Sparqoverse’s predecessor GParkPass five years ago, it was because I envisioned offering more than parking spaces to corporate and residential subscribers. The parking space idea was the start of a process to attract users. It was an easy concept to launch — reserve a few spaces and re-subscribe to others — since I worked in parking services for many years. The goal was to signup as many users and figure out what to upsell next. In a subscription business, a service that people need is better than what people want. And, parking space is a definite need for car owners.
Today, Sparqoverse is an offshoot of multiple side hustles that have now morphed beyond services. In large part because of the problems we’ve encountered to make our projects work. Even with billions of dollars poured by investors in fintech companies, payment processing is still a number one issue in global commerce due to its high costs and inefficiencies. Instead of innovation, we looked at the problem from an alternative perspective to change the space.
"For many years, I've constantly envisioned that I'll be ringing the bell at the New York Stock Exchange. Someday, I will." - Nigel Mamon | Co-founder & Former Basketball Player
At present, I would establish Sparqoverse to the community as a development company with a mixed combination of functions in technology, marketplaces, communications, and social impact. Though this may sound like a confused identity or lack of a clear vision by a startup, it’s the opposite that makes Sparqoverse a unique player. The four sections we’re building solve some of the most challenging problems, from how global marketplaces function to consumers’ changing philosophy and the overall understanding of community building. And, we will not be discouraged from being the outlier with our approach where we see our vision having a long and changing effect on the people.
Everyone’s journey is different. I am deeply grateful for the experiences in hardships, failures, rejections, and on some days, lost in my little way. It gave me the ability to make tough choices to find my way back and be a better version of myself. I always joke around with friends and peers that I have to apply my “Mamba Mentality” in running things.
Building this very ambitious vision from scratch is spine-chilling, and we will be dealing with a lot of skepticism. As we expand and mature, we take our leadership to the people we serve seriously and exemplify this by bringing diverse insights and thinking to help drive a vision.
Let’s get connected to a new reality.