Parking around Ohio State’s Campus on gameday is often a nightmare. Off-campus meters, city permits and private lots can be tough to navigate. But, a new online platform is making it easier to connect gameday parkers with opens spots around campus.
Through SpotShark, residents or businesses with open spaces close to campus can list their location for game-goers needing to park. The two connect through a real-time marketplace on a mobile app. Sellers get money for their idle spots, while eliminating the need for parkers to drive around aimlessly looking for a location.
SpotShark currently targets OSU football games, but the new startup is eager to apply their marketplace to other events.
We recently spoke with Co-Founder Herman Singh to learn more about this Startup Weekend success story.
Q: Tell us about your background as it relates to SpotShark.
Being in Columbus, OH for the last few years I’ve become increasingly more aware of the startup culture. I’m at a point of trying to utilize my skills towards a constructive idea, project or business. I have several projects, and SpotShark is one of them.While at Columbus Startup Weekend as someone that could possibly help establish an Android app, I met all of the SpotShark co-founders, Andrew Yanai, Tyler Jack and Scott Ziegler. We had a really good and diverse team, which was a big contributor to our success. I ended up providing a lot of business insight as well as getting a simple working Android prototype, Scott worked with getting the website up, Tyler figured out our marketing strategy, and Andrew also helped out with business and sales.
Q: SpotShark came out of Startup Weekend. Walk us through that experience and how the company came together.
Startup Weekend is a really great event. It’s definitely a big motivation to get things done. You’re surrounded by lots of intelligent people from different backgrounds who are all in the same startup mindset. It’s truly inspiring. There are also plenty of mentors around who are willing to help you through your struggles (because there are lots of struggles). Getting everything wrapped up by Sunday in time for your presentation is described by Startup Weekend organizers as “54 hours of chaos”…and it is. The key to our success came with two things: 1) a good idea and 2) well presented research
An idea is nothing if you can’t pitch it. Startup Weekend judges ask questions that really peer into the feasibility of your business model. Because most of the judges have seen or been there, they can ask difficult questions that you have to be prepared to answer. You have to convince them that you know what you’re talking about and you’ve done your homework. Since we won Startup Weekend, we all felt a resurgence of confidence in our idea. We decided to make it official and sought to establish our LLC and begin working on a minimum viable product. Several months later we began our beta testing and deployed our MVP just over two months ago.
Q: What services does SpotShark provide? What kind of events/opportunities do you cater to?
The whole concept of SpotShark is simple. We are trying to make idle property more valuable. You own a spot, but you may not actually understand what that spot is worth, especially when an event is going on nearby, of which, you are completely unaware. SpotShark wants to help facilitate the process of selling these potentially valuable spots. Likewise, we also want to make it easier for people to get parking by allowing people to reserve their spots ahead of time and avoid the frustrations of parking.
Parking is a huge problem on OSU gameday. There are many people who own property that may not have the time or care to sit outside and advertise their spots for sale. SpotShark wants to make this system easier by listing available spots on our marketplace. We thought this was the best place to roll out our MVP. As football season is nearing its end, SpotShark is looking to fill our marketplace with parking for many more Columbus-based events. Eventually, if this catches on, we are looking to epxand into other regions, providing specifically tailored event parking solutions for each city/state. In the near future we are considering listing Comfest, The Arnold, Columbus Blue Jackets and several other local events. We’re not opposed to suggestions too. We will soon implement an interface where users can suggest events nearby that they think would be worthwhile.
Q: How do I take advantage of the services if I’m looking to provide a spot? Find a spot?
If you’re looking to list your spot, simply sign up here and you can add a location to your profile. For address validation reasons, SpotShark must approve your location request before going live on our site.
If you’re trying to find a spot, simply search for the event you are attending and it will pull up a Google Maps view of the event alongside a list of the spots for sale at that event. We’ve incorporated features like walking directions and even a Google Street View so you can see where you are parking.
I think that SpotShark has a lot of potential to help alleviate the hassle of parking. Help us grow so we can provide greater experiences for all of our customers!
For more information, visit spotshark.co.