The new app, SpotHero, will help you secure a parking spot in congested spaces.
If you've been to a big city recently, or even just attended a sporting event or concert, you know that parking can come at a premium. Between finding a spot that is legal and paying parking tickets, it can be a definite pain. That is why a pair of roommates from Chicago decided to make an app that will allow them find parking spots that won't cost them thousands of dollars in parking tickets.
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According to The Today Show, Mark Lawrence and Jeremy Smith launched that app, named SpotHero, in 2011, but it is only recently getting attention. The app allows users to reserve spaces in garages, often for a steep discount. So far, the app has raised nearly $7 million in funding thanks to a newer partner, Larry Kiss.
"We figured there had to be a better way," Lawrence said. "We have a relentless focus on changing the way people park. This is something that is done every day by millions of people across the country, and we're innovative because we're taking something that's already done and we're making it better."
Garages benefit because they are able to fill up spaces that people would skip over, thinking it was full. The company takes 15% commission, and with over a million parking reservations since 2011, they are making huge amounts of money. Discounts can be as high as 80 percent during off times, but can still save people some change during high stress events - especially if people book early and book often.
Right now SpotHero partners with 200 parking companies in 12 cities coast to coast, including New York, Chicago and San Francisco. In the future, Lawrence said he could see an international expansion.
"There are a lot of cities internationally that could definitely use an app like this so you know exactly where you are going to park and how much you'll pay," he said. "But our focus right now is North America." The company is even hoping to pair with Uber or Lyft to make a bigger splash.
"Our goal is to make it easy to drive and own a car," Kiss said. "One of the biggest things about owning a car is how stressful it is to park. So we believe that if we can relieve that, then it will be great to continue owning a vehicle."
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He knows it will work for others, because it has worked for him: "I'd love to say I haven't gotten any more tickets, but it has gone down significantly," he said. "I would say the app has solved 90 percent of my parking issues."