Fayetteville-based startup looks to become the Uber/Airbnb of event parking

by Aric Mitchell ([email protected]) 1,183 views 

A Fayetteville-based startup has its sights set on becoming the Uber/Airbnb of the event parking space. FanSpotz is expanding its peer-to-peer mobile parking app, which facilitates event parking by connecting attendees with property owners, who have spots for rent.

Initially piloted in Fayetteville during the 2017 Arkansas Razorback football season, FanSpotz is now live throughout Northwest Arkansas in Bentonville, Rogers, Springdale, Fayetteville, and surrounding communities. FanSpotz was a finalist at the Cox Business “Get Started” NWA pitch event in October 2017.

“We learned a lot during the pilot and appreciate the feedback from our users,” said Tony Lee, the company’s chief technology officer and co-founder. “This new version of the app simplifies the experience for both parkers who manage or own spaces, and fans looking for short term on demand parking during events.”

Similar in functionality to peer-to-peer apps Uber and Airbnb, FanSpotz allows property owners with a yard, driveway, or other parking surface to advertise their available space along with directions. FanSpotz is free to download on the App Store or Google Play.

Owners will list their available parking spot(s) and set their price. This will activate a parking beacon to show their location. Event-goers browse availability to find a spot that meets their location and budget needs, and the app uses their device’s default map service to provide driving directions. All communication and secure payments are handled in-app. Payment information is encrypted through online transaction service Stripe.

“As an avid sports and community event fan, there’s nothing I dread more than traveling to a venue, dealing with traffic, driving around to scout out parking in an area you might not be familiar with and remembering to carry cash – FanSpotz solves for all of that,” said CEO/co-founder Shauna Bowen. “We love that we are connecting members of our community at events, while creating a new market opportunity for property owners who want to capitalize on events in their area.”

The startup is comprised of five Fortune 1 retail veterans, four of whom graduated from the University of Arkansas, with a range of experience across the business landscape, including technology, operations, marketing, strategy, and communications.

In a recent press release, FanSpotz’ co-founders said the idea began while having conversations about the hassles of finding parking at UA events. They realized, with 128 colleges participating in Division I football, along with countless events throughout communities nationwide, “there are plenty of people having the same problem.”

Furthermore, since 2015, attendance at concerts, festivals, fairs, and other community events has risen from 75 million to 111 million annually.

“We believe FanSpotz has great potential. We started with college sports, but we are ready for any event. In Northwest Arkansas this spring and summer we are gearing up from high school to college graduation ceremonies, the Bentonville Film Festival, business functions including the Walmart Shareholders’ Meeting as well as AMP concerts,” said Steven Zapata, FanSpotz’ chief customer officer/co-founder. “Our goal is to expand our reach to communities with parking issues due to lack of infrastructure and public transportation where we can provide an efficient on-demand solution. We are excited to share the latest version first with the entire NWA community.”

The FanSpotz leadership team includes co-founders Shauna Bowen (CEO); Steven Zapata, (CMO); Tony Lee (CTO); and Matt Martin, (CPO); as well as Tyler Crosson, director of growth.