With 105,000 people jamming the stadium for each and every home game, it’s incredibly difficult to find a spot that’s not only close, but also affordable.
Finally, there is a legitimate solution to the Buckeye gameday parking problem: SpotShark.co.
SpotShark is the brain-child of Ohio State alumni Tyler Jack, Ohio State senior Andrew Yanni and local web developers Herman Singh and Scott Ziegler.
The guys from SpotShark came together at a national event in Columbus called “Event Startup Week”, a bi-annual national event in which groups of entrepreneurs create an idea, develop a prototype for that idea and present that idea to a panel of judges, who will then pick a winner who receives 1,000 dollars in startup money.
Jack and Yanni were both business majors and members of the Business Builders Club- the BBC- at Ohio State prior to the event and decided to take part in the 3-day, 54-hour marathon that is Event Startup Week.
It was there that the two Buckeye businessmen met two up-and-coming web developers- Singh and Ziegler- and SpotShark was formed.
“Its actually a really good thing when you have a bunch of people from different disciplines,” said Singh. “We have really good collaboration.”
With the group in place, the guys created an idea they thought could win them the startup money and spring them into the business world with relative ease.
That idea was SpotShark.
SpotShark was an idea in which people who were coming to Columbus for an event could find advertised parking spots online, pay for them online through a credit card and simply use the spot on the day of the event.
After many hours of work, the SpotShark group presented their idea to the panel of judges and were awarded first place, earning the 1,000 grand prize.
“Ever since then, we’ve been kinda working on it. Meeting on weekends, every Wednesday and Saturday,” said Jack, who sometimes Skypes into the meetings from his home in Akron. “We’re just kind of working on ideas.”
Those ideas are beginning to come to fruition as Spotshark is in its nascent stages and beginning to do business.
Singh laid out SpotShark’s business plan piece-by-piece, so that potential customers could understand exactly what the company is all about.
“When you go to SpotShark.co, you can find the event that you’re looking for,” said Singh. “We’re mainly event based. The idea behind the customer that comes to our website is looking for parking at an event.”
“For instance, OSU football games, which is what we’re piloting for. We see that a lot of people are going to come to the game for the weekend. They need parking for the game, so they can come to our website, click on an event, and the parking spots come up for the event. They can click on a spot, they can see what prices each spot is worth, where the spot is located and see an image of the spot from Google Earth. They can decide whether or not they want to park there, and if they do, they can select the spot and reserve it and make the transaction.”
“From there, we handle all the transaction information for sellers and buyers. Meaning, we handle the sales of the parking spots for the sellers, those looking to advertise spots through our service, and the credit card payments for the buyers, who are looking to purchase the spots for gameday. We make it a convenient one-stop-shop.”
“You can find a spot, reserve it and you don’t have to have the hassle of running around and finding a spot on gameday, while paying through the nose for it. That’s the problem we’re solving.”
“There’s definitely a huge market for it.” said Jack. “We can start out at Ohio State. Next year, if we get funding, we can expand to other universities, try it out at other campuses. There’s professional sports, concerts, conventions state fairs… It’s relatively easy to expand. Basically everything is run through the computer.”
Before they expand though, the group is trying to make some money. As of right now, they take only 13% of the sale, according to Jack.
They’re looking to make about 10% on each spot, so the 13% takes into account the 3% swipe fee from the credit card transaction, said Jack. Everything else is taken by SpotShark and placed directly back into the company for advertisements, site enhancements and the like.
For the last three games of the season, SpotShark is capping the parking spot prices at 30$ a piece. This will hopefully boost sales and help not only SpotShark, but the owners of the spots as well.
“A big reason we haven’t had a ton of sales is because we are a new service and people don’t trust paying 40-50 dollars for a parking spot to a work in progress,” said Jack. “When we have more money to improve our site and create an app, we will have more credibility and the company should grow.”
For SpotShark, just about everything is set to go. The idea is there, the website is beautiful and convenient and the business model is set. Now, they just need your help to get things going.
“Hopefully at the end of the season, people are using the site, it’s working and we’re getting positive feedback.” said Jack. “Then we’ll take it in front of investors and tell them what we’ve been doing. Our end goal is getting an investment and putting more money into the site.”
“We’re using OSU football as a testing ground,” said Singh. “In the end, we’re looking to create a business that solves a lot of the parking problems that exist today.”
Whether you’re looking for a spot on gameday, looking to sell a spot on gameday or are a Buckeye fan looking to support a local startup, SpotShark.co is the way to go!
If you’re interested in supporting SpotShark or have any questions about the business, please feel free to email myself, Hayden Grove- email@example.com, Tyler Jack- firstname.lastname@example.org, or Herman Singh- email@example.com, for more information.
Also contact SpotShark on Twitter- @SpotShark- or look them up on Facebook!