February 5, 2015

Introducing SPOT: The Airbnb of Parking Spaces



Once upon a time, hailing a stranger’s car and getting a ride was an illegal activity called hitchhiking. Nowadays, millions of users in over 200 cities are connected via Uber to drivers who are eager to bring them to their destination in their personal cars.

As the Apple App Store grows daily, there are ever-increasing opportunities to connect buyers and sellers of both goods and services. Specifically, it is easier and more convenient than ever for unlikely sellers to reach a massive market. Have a spare bedroom and want some extra cash? Airbnb will connect you to its 25,000,000 guests who are willing to skip hotel style amenities to get a good deal on unique lodging in a private residence. Have an extra office or boardroom? LiquidSpace will rent it out for you hourly to their database of consultants and business travelers looking for self-serve temporary space.

Enter Braden Golub of Boston, MA to the app world. Golub was tired of driving around in circles and found it frustrating to overpay for parking in big garages. He conducted a little research, after which he concluded that there are 50,000 parking spaces in Boston, 30,000 of which are easily accessible and go mostly unused. Wanting to unite these empty driveways and small parking lots with drivers desperate to park and get to their destination, Golub developed SPOT.

Similar to the Airbnb model, SPOT connects owners of unused space to those looking to rent it daily, weekly or even monthly. With all financial transactions taking place within the app, the process is quick and easy for both the buyer and seller. Although it is currently only available in Boston, Golub plans to expand SPOT to 7 cities this year.

The only thing that shocks me is that this didn’t exist earlier, and makes me wonder what underutilized things I own that could be earning me money right now. Is there an app for renting kitchen appliances, like my beautiful juicer covered in about a year of dust? Or how about a puppy exchange where I can take a vacation without exorbitant kennel costs and you can test drive being a dog owner? It’s a win-win, plus a little extra cash in my pocket. If I can trust getting in a complete stranger’s car alone at night because they have earned a 4.7 star rating, I guess I could learn to trust strangers for a plethora of things including borrowing my juicer and feeding my 90 lb dog.