SpotHero Wins Apps For Chicago Contest

SpotHero's Jeremy Smith and Mark Lawrence

SpotHero‘s Mark Lawrence is pumped.

“We were unbelievably excited,” says Lawrence. “We’ve been really working hard on this full time and it really shows validation for our idea.”

After a year of hard work by himself and his partner Jeremy Smith in launching their parking spot rental website, SpotHero claimed top prize in the first round of the city sponsored Apps for Chicago contest.

The first round of this program to promote local technological entrepreneurship focused on transportation. After being selected from an initial 30 app submissions, SpotHero beat out 12 finalists for the $5000 top prize.

FasPark, an app that allows drivers to find street parking in real time won the $3000 second place prize, and an app that figures out where you can get in the city within 30 minutes walking, biking or driving called In Thirty won third place and $1500. The additional finalists were also were given monetary awards.

SpotHero helps pair up owners of private parking spots with drivers looking for short term parking. Smith and Lawrence came up with the concept for SpotHero living in the shadow of Wrigley Field and trying to figure out a way to make extra money renting Smith’s parking spot on Cubs game days, while working a full time job downtown. Since they couldn’t stand on a corner with a sign waving drivers into the spot. The two believed in the idea so strongly, they left their full time jobs in finance to start SpotHero about a year ago. In late July, the two launched the site serving Lakeview helping Cubs fans find parking near Wrigley Field and are slowly expanding to other parts of the city.

“SpotHero lets you rent out your parking spot when you’re not using it,” says Lawrence. “Not on a monthly basis but on a temporary basis.”

SpotHero is adding a lot more parking spots in neighborhoods and event areas around the city including parking for White Sox games, Bears games, downtown theater district events, River North and other areas.

“I think it (the award) gives us a lot of visibility at a time when we’re expanding quickly,” says Lawrence.

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