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Saturday, January 23, 2021

Entrepreneurs: FanSpotz parks its technology in DFW area

FanSpotz is immediately seeking private parking spaces near the following Tarrant County venues:

• Amon G. Carter Stadium, Texas Christian University

• AT&T Stadium

• Fort Worth Stockyards

•Panther Island Pavilion

For more information:

www.fanspotz.com

With grand entertainment events, come giant-sized parking woes – whether it’s a sports match or a music concert.

Developers of the FanSpotz app, recently released in Dallas-Fort Worth, are attempting to solve the problem through crowdsourcing.

Dallas native Steven Zapata was all too familiar with the challenge of finding a good parking spot. So he and a few friends in Arkansas created and developed FanSpotz, a peer-to-peer mobile parking app.

The app enables Metroplex homeowners to earn extra money by providing parking on their property which would likely go unused during nearby events. For instance, owners could offer parking in their yard, garage or driveway. Owners – or “parking hosts” – can list their spots and set prices on the FanSpotz app free.

To simplify and ease the parking experience, event-goers and sports fans can find and reserve spots weeks or months in advance.

The app, available at the App Store and Google Play, handles transactions through an encrypted payment service.

FanSpotz is currently seeking hosts near popular venues across the Metroplex. In Fort Worth the app will offer parking for upcoming Fourth of July events, as well as for TCU’s first football home game on Aug. 31.

The Dallas-Fort Worth market is the startup’s first expansion outside Arkansas. FanSpotz started two years ago and found success during its initial pilot phase.

“We’ve received more than $75,000 in funding from private investors to date. And we’re offering investment opportunities now to fuel further expansion to new markets,” said Zapata.

The startup calls itself the “Airbnb of parking.”

There are plans to roll out service in more cities and states as the free market system that the gig economy offers gains more steam.

To learn more about FanSpotz, Fort Worth Business Press talked with co-founder Zapata.

More people in Dallas-Fort Worth use their own vehicle to travel than use public transportation. How would you describe the parking situation here?

I remember never wanting to drive anywhere because you couldn’t find a parking spot. It wasn’t the fact that you had to drive 30 minutes to go somewhere. It was the fact that once you got there, you just didn’t know where to park.

How might the introduction of FanSpotz alleviate the problem?

We’re more of a complimentary service. We’re looking to help communities and help people find parking that they wouldn’t find. We’re almost trying to create a market for it. Honestly, it contributes to the sharing economy. It just helps people get about their way.

How significant is the advancement of technology to this idea of sharing economy, which FanSpotz is a part of?

Twenty years ago, you wouldn’t have thought to rent your home to a stranger. But now with services like Airbnb and Uber, you’re likely already participating in this kind of sharing economy every day. These services have paved the way for people to think, “Oh my god, maybe my neighbor has something that I need,” in terms of resources.

We definitely see it as disruptive. Technology is evolving so fast that right now, we’re just responding to what the demand is now. There’s no telling how people are going to be parking 10, 15 years from now. All we can do is try to capture that user experience and solve for it right now.

Do you think FanSpotz has the potential to overtake or disrupt traditional parking services?

We’re not going to be able to offer parking in front of, let’s say, the Stockyards, right there. But we can offer something couple of blocks away that people are willing to walk to. We’re not trying to compete with the same spaces. Those spaces are traditionally municipal, or owned spots. We’re here as more of crowdsourcing, small businesses and residence.

Why did FanSpotz choose Dallas-Fort Worth as its first market to expand?

We realized people [here] are always needing to find parking. And at the same time, people are also living very close to these venues and kind of have an untapped resource, in terms of earning extra income.

We chose Fort Worth and Dallas because they’re happening places. I mean, there’s festivals, concerts, sports events or something going on every week. So we’re really looking for cities that have a steady flow of events to drive that surge in parking.

What are the immediate future growth plans?

We are definitely looking for other cities that are similar. Speak of Austin, Texas. Speak of Charleston, South Carolina. There’s just so many different places that are very event-driven cities. So, we’re looking at expanding to those cities, too.

Neetish Basnet
Neetish is a writer and digital content producer for Fort Worth Business Press. He has been covering businesses of all shapes and sizes in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex for several years. After graduating with a journalism degree from University of Texas-Arlington, Dow Jones News Fund selected him for a digital media fellowship. He still likes the smell of a freshly printed newspaper.

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