$3000 In Parking Tickets Leads To Award Winning Chicago Startup: SpotHero

It’s not often that parking tickets lead to a “good thing”, especially not $3,000 worth. That’s however, not the case for Chicago entrepreneur Jeremy Smith and his cohorts Mark Lawrence and Larry Kiss. Together the three of them have created Chicago startup SpotHero.

At first sight the startup seems very similar to Baltimore startup ParkingPanda, however SpotHero boasts 24 hour customer support and touts that they are superserving Chicago first and building a loyal customer base before eventually branching out. Chicago seems to love SpotHero as well. Since their launch in 2011 the company reports that more than 10,000 people have used their iPhone app and website platform to find parking spots.

SpotHero’s iPhone app allows drivers to reserve parking spots on the go, something that ParkingPanda is just now having developed through MindGrub. ParkingPanda is a web based platform that allows people to book parking spots from either individuals like driveways and curbside spaces, or public lots that have extra spots to rent. Both services allow the user to pick how long and when they want to start the parking spot rental.

SportHero was part of the most recent class at Excelerate Labs one of Chicago’s thriving startup accelerators. SpotHero just recently presented at Excelerate Labs’ August demo day.

The city of Chicago’s government loves SpotHero too. Despite the fact that SpotHero cuts into the Chicago’s own parking revenue from both meters and ticketing, SpotHero recently walked away with a $5,000 prize in the first round of Chicago’s Apps for Metro contest.  The Apps for Metro contest was announced in June by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. The contest is very similar to open data initiatives we’ve heard about in other municipalities, like Madison Wisconsin.

Winning that contest “gives us validation that this is a service that really would be important to the city of Chicago,” Smith told the Chicago Tribune, “There’s a problem with parking, and people want creative solutions. The time is (right) to support new programs.”

While Chicago residents may know the ins and outs of parking in the city, folks from the suburbs that frequent the city many not be as fortunate. Such was the case for Smith; “Growing up in the suburbs, one of the most frustrating parts of coming to the city was parking. For drivers in Chicago, it’s always a hassle finding a spot. SpotHero solves the problem by making parking easy and transparent,” said Smith,  “With SpotHero, I don’t have to worry about where I’m going to park because they always have options ready.”

The SpotHero team plans to continue to use open data initiatives from the city of Chicago to continue adding features to the app. One of the features they plan to role out soon would take data from road closure and construction information and add a layer to SpotHero so travelers would know if spots aren’t open or that re-routing may be more trouble than it’s worth.

Smith has confirmed the company plans to roll out more cities in the future. ParkingPanda is available in Baltimore and Washington DC and hopes to add Philadelphia and San Francisco as soon as they’ve built enough relationships with those who hold the key to both apps success, people with parking spots that need to be filled.


For more on SpotHero check them out on the web here

Nibletz is the voice of startups “everywhere else” here are more startup stories from “everywhere else”



Baltimore Startup: ParkingPanda Taps Local Firm, MindGrub For Mobile App

One of my favorite things about traveling in Washington DC and Baltimore (aside being from there) is Parking Panda. Parking Panda is a revolutionary new app that allows peer to peer renting of driveways and other under utilized parking spaces. What you’ll find after using the service is, better directions to a parking spot, not having to constantly plug meters with quarters, and the ability to save both time and money by using somebody else’s spot.

ParkingPanda also backfills peer to peer spots with under-utilized spots in municipal lots as well.

The service is currently only available in Washington DC and Baltimore however they plan on being in Philadelphia,Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco in the not so distant future.

ParkingPanda functions a lot like hotels.com. People with the space in their driveway or wherever else you can park a car, post pictures, a description, some nearby attractions and the requirements for parking there. End users who need to park their car go to the site, decide where they need to park and select a nearby option. The end user puts in their car data and their credit card and goes to the spot to park. It’s that simpe.

Of course like hotels.com the entire platform could increase it’s usability ten fold with a mobile app and that’s just whatParkingPanda has commissioned the team at MindGrub to do.

The Catonsville based design house has been around since 2004 when teacher turned entrepreneur technologist Todd Marks went a little bit ahead of the curve designing websites, and then mobile apps for Baltimore’s top shelf clientele.

Now, rather than having to plan hours or days ahead, people can utilize ParkingPanda on the fly, even as their driving aimlessly down the streets of DC or Baltimore looking for a spot.


ParkingPanda is here

Mindgrub is here

and startup stories from “everywhere else” are here

Baltimore Startup: Parking Panda Expanding To Philly & San Francisco

The genius parking startup out of Baltimore Maryland, Parking Panda, has announced that now that they’ve rolled out service in the nation’s capital, the next cities on the list are Philadelphia and San Francisco.

Parking Panda CEO and Co-Founder, Nick Miller, has reported that they’ve closed one $250,000 round of funding and have another one in the works.

The service works similarly to the way that hotels.com works. Users logon to their website at parkingpanda.com and they can browse the available parking spots in the city they are looking at. The spots are a variety of vacant spots in parking garages and also individual driveways and business lots.

The user can pay for the current day, a future date or a range of dates. They prepay using their credit card and are guaranteed a parking spot in the facility  they selected. Parking spots range anywhere from $5.00 on up.

Parkingpanda goes one step further and lets users know what the parking spot they are looking at is near. In Washington DC Parkingpanda tells the user the nearby attractions like museums and metro routes.  In Baltimore, Miller reports that a lot of people are renting their driveways on Ravens and Orioles game days.

There’s been no date announced for the expansion but it looks like it will be sooner rather than later. Miller told BmoreMedia that they are working on finding the parking spaces in both Philly and San Francisco.


Check out ParkingPanda here

Source: BmoreMedia

Nibletz is the voice of #startups “everywhere else” check out these new stories

We’re on a sneaker strapped nationwide road trip, check it out and support us here 

Baltimore Startup Parking Panda Launches Service In Washington DC

(photo: Baltimore Sun)

One of the things Cameron and I noticed when we were in Washington DC as part of our nationwide startup road trip, was that their parking meters were equipped for internet payment. That meant we could refill our parking meters while we were meeting with some great startups all over town, and not have to run back to the meter. Convenience had it’s price but we needed to do what we needed to do.

If you don’t want to mess with the high tech innovative meters in DC, or the hassle of finding a space, Baltimore Startup Parking Panda has you covered. Parking Panda works with owners of un-utilized parking spaces. These could be in the form of small lots of the side of buildings, or parking company owned lots that have spaces that aren’t used on a regular basis.

Parking Panda Users can rent spaces using the service and basically pay in advance for a guaranteed spot. This really comes in handy, especially in a city like Washington DC where street parking, even at the meter, can be scarce.

“A city resident myself, I know that finding available parking can be maddening, expensive, and sometimes almost impossible,” said Nick Miller, CEO of Parking Panda. “Parking Panda takes the hassle and expense out of searching for a parking spot. Parking in D.C. will no longer be such a time-consuming, daunting task because people can reserve spots ahead of time and for less money.”

More after the break
Read More…