Ten years ago, SpotHero’s founders were living in Chicago and racking up thousands of dollars in parking tickets. They knew there had to be a way to make parking easier. Thus, SpotHero was born. SpotHero originated as a blog documenting rising parking meter prices and expanded into tips and tricks for parking around Chicago. In July 2011, the SpotHero website launches, allowing customers to look and book parking online. The first reservation? A spot in Wrigleyville for a Cubs game.
Over the next ten years, SpotHero grows from an idea to a tiny startup to an industry parking leader. And this growth would never have been possible without our operator partnerships! For our 10 year anniversary, we’re taking a look at the major milestones, acquisitions, and growth stages that drove us to where we are today.
2011: First operator partner for Air & Water Show in Chicago
SpotHero partnered with its first operator, Central Parking System (CPS) in August 2011, shortly after the launch of the website. CPS provided parking for the annual Chicago Air & Water Show and changed SpotHero’s business strategy from a peer-to-peer parking company to a B2B parking company. This partnership gave drivers confidence and SpotHero credibility, helping us prove our worth to other parking operators.
2012: SpotHero hires its first employee – a Sales role!
In April 2012, SpotHero hired its first employee. The Sales role was crucial to help build relationships with parking partners and grow the expanding parking marketplace. Our Sales Team today has over 35 employees and works with hundreds of operator partners around the U.S. and Canada.
2013: First National Parking Operator Partnership
After the launch of the SpotHero mobile app and growth in cities like Baltimore, D.C., New York, and Boston, SpotHero partnered with SP+, our first national parking operator partner. The partnership grew parking inventory across the country.
2014: Series A Financing
SpotHero raises $4.5 million in a Series A financing round from a venture capital firm. This financing round allows us to expand our parking marketplace and create a better experience on the website, app and at parking facilities.
2015: Our One Millionth Parking Reservation
SpotHero celebrates its one millionth parking reservation in March 2015. This moment propels the company to define our mission, values, and purpose driving forward.
2016: Partnership with Parkopedia and ParkMe
In October 2016, SpotHero partners with Parkopedia and ParkMe to sell our parking on their websites. This places our inventory in front of even more drivers and proves to be a successful partnership.
2017: Acquisition of Parking Panda
In April 2017, SpotHero acquires Baltimore-based Parking Panda, which grows our inventory to 47 additional cities. Parking Panda was the leader in event reservations. The acquisition allowed SpotHeroy to form dozens of strategic partnerships with major sports leagues, as well as major convention centers and arenas.
2018: SpotHero partners with FlashParking
In October 2018, SpotHero partners with Flash Parking to allow drivers to use Bluetooth smartphones to access garages. One-tap redemption allows drivers to open a gate without having to roll down their window or scan their parking pass.
2019: Expansion to Canada
SpotHero expands into the Canadian market by partnering with the Toronto Pearson International Airport, with access to on-airport parking facilities. This partnership, along with our acquisition of Toronto-based parking company Rover, paves the way for more operator growth across Toronto in years to come.
2020: SpotHero IQ
The company launches SpotHero IQ, an automated, demand-based dynamic pricing product built on the most extensive demand data set in the $36B North American parking industry. The AI-powered dynamic platform helps increase operational efficiency and maximize revenue for operators.
2021: 1,000 SIQ locations
In the first half of 2021 we go live with one-tap redemption in Canada, reach the 1000-location milestone for SpotHero IQ, increase control panel capabilities for operator partners–and we’re just getting started!
Whether you’ve been with SpotHero since inception, or just learned about us last week, we’re thrilled to have you along for the ride.