ASU Students Create App For Less Painful Parking

Published: Wednesday, June 7, 2017 - 5:00am
Updated: Thursday, June 8, 2017 - 8:46am

(Screen capture via AirGarage)
An example of how parking spaces are mapped on AirGarage. “So we really in the future will be striving to create a network of parking spaces,” Barkl said.

Two ASU students saw a problem: parking near campus was too expensive and inconvenient.

Their solution is an app launched in May called AirGarage.

“There’s an untapped resource sitting right in front of your house,” co-founder Jonathon Barkl said. “You could be making money, I could be saving money.”

Barkl and fellow ASU student Scott Fitsimones set out to connect homeowners with spaces for parking, say in a driveway, to people who want to pay to park.

Barkl says some students don’t want to or can’t afford the up to $780 annual parking permit offered on campus.

“What we’re really trying to do is not make parking being a pain in the a—,” Barkl, an incoming junior at ASU, said.

Neither founder is a business major — Barkl is studying physics and economics, while Fitsimones studies computer science.

What started as an idea nine months ago grew with the support of ASU’s E-Seed program which awarded the team about $6,000 and mentoring.

“Like all good ideas it started as kind of a kernel,” said Brent Sebold, executive director venture development at ASU Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

The pair reached out to Tempe residents with flyers and Facebook ads. As their idea progressed, ASU flew them to Silicon Valley to meet with the donor who funds the E-Seed program.

“We know from an education standpoint that this cycle of experimentation is going to serve them very well,” Sebold said. 

The young company also participated in ASU’s Innovation Advancement Program, which pairs law students with emerging tech companies.

“It’s a totally new thing, these laws were not prepared for this,” Barkl said of the sharing economy.

On AirGarage, people offering space for rent are charged for payment processing and first-time users pay a fee on top of their monthly rental to support the business.

Right now, there are a few dozen rental locations available through the website and prices range from $7 to $65 a month.

The founders hope AirGarage will be a national solution, but for now, it’s targeting the Valley.

“What we really want to create with AirGarage is a seamless parking experience,” Barkl said. “So we really in the future will be striving to create a network of parking spaces.”

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