DC-based FlexSpot is looking to bring some peace to urban parking wars. If you’ve ever braved any kind of urban area with a car, you’ve driven in circles for waaay too long looking for parking. FlexSpot’s founder, Van Standifer has too. Van came to DC to go get his MBA at Georgetown and a friend from Alexandria told him “Oh sure, you can have a car in DC.”
A couple years, full arsenal of new business skills, and a serious lack of campus-parking later, Van launched FlexSpot to disrupt the urban parking industry. Just over a month into existence, the FlexSpot team is focusing on offline inventory – private lots (especially in urban areas) that may not be listed on sharing apps or other platforms. that can be brought online to exclusive sharing networks.
“I think that there are hundreds of extra spaces that the public can use, in Georgetown alone, which is where my idea was inspired really. Using those extra spots potentially means less business for the garages but more importantly, I think it means more convenience for people who live and work in the area and need parking” said Standifer, who also has his eye on many of DC’s other neighborhoods, and cities beyond.
The idea is to take “mobile parking” a step beyond just paying for the meter with your phone (which doesn’t solve the parking-shortage problem), to allow people to book spots ahead of time, and allow a spot owner to know very specific information about usage, down to the hour. Standifer pointed out that “…many landlords treat the lot they own like it’s a liability. They’re just worried about violators. With the right system, you can turn it into a real source of revenue.”
FlexSpot is aiming for a sort of mid-size private lots, where there is definitely revenue to capture, but the lot may be too small to justify a paid attendant or legacy system to enforce access, while still having a need for greater accountability.
The idea is that in a very analog industry, by adding more virtual control you can create more optimized information and benchmarks (like parking prices that truly equal demand) to use for detailed marketing.
The company is still in a proto-type stage, but gearing up to move into more testing and an angel-round of funding before the end of the summer.