Parking Website Wins $5,000


After $3,000 in parking tickets, Jeremy Smith decided to do something about it (other than paying/fighting the tickets) and won $5,000.

Smith and his roommate, Mark Lawrence, created SpotHero, a website that connects owners of city parking spots with drivers. The website indicates it's for special events or popular areas, on a daily basis. (Smith and Lawrence live near the parking moneymaker neighborhood of Wrigleyville).

Smith and Lawrence launched SpotHero in July and on Saturday, the team won the cash in the first round of the city's Apps for Metro Chicago contest, according to an article in the Chicago Tribune.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel in June announced the first Apps for Metro Chicago contest, inviting developers to build Web or mobile applications using data sets provided by the city, Cook County, the state of Illinois and the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning.

SpotHero won the first round, which was focused on transportation. More than 30 apps were submitted, and a panel of judges selected 12 finalists. (Read about more finalists in the Chicago Sun-Times).

On SpotHero, owners of parking spaces who want to rent out those spots can post a listing for free and set a price. The site's free for drivers and transactions are handled through Amazon. SpotHero takes a 15 percent cut of each transaction, plus 99 cents.

Smith, who quit a job with Motorola to work on SpotHero, said he's adding more features, such as integrating city data on street closures to alert users about potential problems with particular parking spots.

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