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Summary:

As more consumers become comfortable with the idea of connecting with a stranger to rent out their stuff, more sites have emerged solely focused on connecting parking spot owners with parkers.

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Like most things that are being shared via the new trend of web and mobile-based collaborative consumption — apartments, cars, tools — parking spots have long been shared via a site like Craigslist. But as more consumers become comfortable with the idea of connecting with a stranger to rent out their stuff, more sites have emerged solely focused on connecting parking spot and driveway owners with parkers.

The latest to come to the U.S. is Park At My House, which has been mostly in the U.K. for several years, but on Wednesday is officially launching in the U.S., starting with New York, Washington D.C., and Boston. The site offers home and business owners way to put their parking spots and driveways up for rent to prospective parkers, and the site says it has earned its home owner parking spot renters a collective $5 million.

Park At My House is backed by BMW’s venture firm, the investing arm of the car company, which is focused on financing mobile apps and mobile technology. BMW only launched the $100 million fund last year and has also invested in mobile app MyCityWay.

Park Circa is another a small project looking to create a network around parking spots and people renting out their drive ways, and it appears to be mostly in the Bay Area right now. Park Circa says on its website that it launched at the beginning of January 2011 and has been organically growing out the site, but is looking for more driveway owners to join in.

It seems like in the U.S. people still largely turn to Craigslist for this market, and if you check out San Francisco and parking you can find loads of spots. But parking spots seem like something that could be readily shared via an easy to use mobile app and web site. And sites like Airbnb have been able to break out with apartment vacation rentals — once the dominant domain of Craigslist — and Airbnb is now moving steadily into sublets, which is more Craigslist fodder.

I like the idea of sharing parking spots because it’s a more efficient way to share and rent out resources. Why not make money off of the parking spot asset and use the spaces already available, instead of encouraging more parking lot developers to build?

These types of web and mobile tools will be needed to share resources and better manage transportation as our populations boom from 7 billion in the world, to 9 billion in the world, with much of that growth happening in cities.

Image courtesy of CanadaCow.

  1. John Katsiotis Tuesday, January 3, 2012

    Just a quick note. Another start-up dealing with parking spots is Parking Defenders ( http://parkingd.com )

    It has a different approach and is for parking spots that are available on the side of the road.

    You can check a video of the app here: http://vimeo.com/34511352

    Thanks,
    John

    Disclaimer: I am one of the founders

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  2. Storably is doing a similar thing with parking and storage. http://www.storably.com/home

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  3. @John Katsiotis, Cool, thanks for the add!

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  4. I love it when I write a trend post, and it becomes clear that it’s actually more of a trend than I thought.

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  5. Check out http://freegler.com – Collaborative Consumption site for stuff around your home

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  6. Nicely, finally my vacant parking lot can earn some money. Much better than many social bulls*** sites offering nothing but false promises.

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  7. Flavius Saracut Wednesday, January 4, 2012

    I love the idea, it would be nicely complemented by a mobile app.

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  8. This makes perfect sense!
    I know people who have done this offline with neighbors but it had to be a monthly agreement between 2 people only and no flexibility when 1 needed the parking spot outside the pre-defined schedule. Now you can rent to anyone anytime you want: another great example of collaborative consumption.

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  9. Here in Baltimore Parking Panda (https://www.parkingpanda.com/) has had some early successes doing just this.

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  10. Craigslist works well enough to help people share dedicated monthly parking (although they don’t provide a map, require reposting, don’t provide automated billing, etc). But beyond improving on what Craigslist can offer the monthly parking market, Park Circa is allows members to keep using their coveted parking space and to just “micro-share” it during specific times, e.g. regularly M-F 8-5, over the weekend trip to Tahoe, or during a summer vacation, etc. Our app then allows drivers to find these spaces that are available right now, and park in them for an hour, a day, etc. This means that we use our urban resources more efficiently, and owners make money on a valuable, underutilized resource.

    Long term we’d love people to have access to parking spaces all over the city, where and when they need it, for the same price they currently pay for a single parking space in one location (which they only use sometimes).

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  11. Michael Kanarek Wednesday, January 4, 2012

    Just Park It (http://justpark.it) is a startup based in Israel currently under beta, targeting the Israeli market (for now, Hebrew only). Our approach is somewhat different calling for a change in consumer parking habits (for many excellent reasons… ). We educate the market to pre-plan parking as a part of their daily routine, so people actually navigate to the parking spot instead of the detination. Most of the spots registered are 8am-6pm, so owners can still make use of their asset when needed. Ontop we give the owners the ability to control pricing for the hour/whole day/night options so pricing fluctuates by demand.

    Michael Kanarek
    co-founder
    justpark.it

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  12. In France, collaborative consumption of parking spots is also emerging, in a slightly different way : drivers help each other by letting the world know when they vacate a space, so somebody else can take their spot. It’s starting to work quite well in Paris, via a mobile app called ShareMySpot (http://www.sharemyspot.com , I’m one of the co-founders). Do you think this kind of system would be appliable to the US?

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