|Founder||Mark Lawrence |
|Mark Lawrence (CEO) |
Larry Kiss (CTO)
Number of employees
|200+ (July 2017)|
SpotHero is a parking reservation service that connects drivers looking to reserve and prepay for parking spaces with parking lots, parking garages and valet services. The service, which operates a mobile app and website, is available in 50 cities in the United States and Canada. The company is based in Chicago, Illinois.
SpotHero was founded by Mark Lawrence and Jeremy Smith in Chicago in 2011, with co-founder Larry Kiss joining the company soon after. Lawrence and Smith were motivated to start SpotHero based on their experiences with excessive parking tickets, feeling there should be a better way to park. After its early beginnings at startup incubator TechNexus, SpotHero was molded at the Excelerate Labs technology incubator (now known as TechStars Chicago). The company started out as a peer-to-peer parking marketplace, where people could rent out their own private parking spots, before expanding the platform to partner with parking companies and garages.
In December 2012, SpotHero raised $2.5 million in venture capital funds from Battery Ventures (lead), 500 Startups, Bullet Time, e.Ventures, OCA Ventures, New World Ventures, Lightbank, and Draper Associates; at the time, it only served Milwaukee and Chicago. In June 2014, SpotHero raised an additional $4.5 million in funding and announced new board of directors members, including LinkedIn's Mike Gamson, Match.com's Sam Yagan and venture capitalist Sam Guren. The company raised $20 million in Series B funding in 2015, and an additional $30 million in a Series C round in July 2017.
Growth and expansion
In the 18 months between the first two rounds of funding, the company expanded from 5 to 22 full-time employees, grew to 7 business markets (Chicago, New York, Washington DC, Boston, Baltimore, Newark and Milwaukee) and opened an office in New York City. By August 2015, SpotHero serviced 12 cities: Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, New Orleans, Newark, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington DC. In July 2016, the company expanded to Los Angeles, and in January 2017 added 13 additional cities, including Austin, Indianapolis, Miami and San Diego. As of May 2017, the company services 47 cities in North America and has over 200 employees.
SpotHero for Business was launched in March 2017, as a business-focused service with features and tools for paying, managing and organizing parking expenses. The company also launched a free developer platform to help businesses integrate parking reservations into their existing apps. In May 2017, SpotHero announced a partnership with commuter employee benefits administrator WageWorks allowing users to pay pre-tax dollars for daily parking near their places of work.
In April 2017, SpotHero acquired Parking Panda, a Baltimore-based services and event parking company. The acquisition expanded SpotHero into Canada, and brought the number of parking locations the company can reserve at to over 5,000.
SpotHero is available as an app on iOS and Android. It focuses on daily and monthly off-street parking, partnering with private garages and lots to offer available spots through its booking platform. The app allows users to find available parking in private garages and lots, and book and pay for a spot in advance, in many cases receiving a discount from the drive-up rate. The company collects a commission on each parking spot transaction.
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- Paul Sawers, "SpotHero launches developer platform to expand its parking inventory into third-party apps," VentureBeat, February 14, 2017.
- Amina Elahi, "SpotHero buys ParkPlease in attempt to bolster San Francisco presence," Chicago Tribune, April 21, 2015.
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- Amina Elahi, "SpotHero buys Baltimore-based competitor Parking Panda," Chicago Tribune, April 13, 2017.
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- Amina Elahi, "SpotHero wants to drive its parking-booking services right in front of you," Chicago Tribune, February 28, 2017.
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