ParknParty turns U-M football Saturdays into Internet biz

Taylor Bond and Jason Kapica enjoy their football Saturdays in Ann Arbor, but they never look forward to the scramble of finding a parking space and meeting up to tailgate. That's not an issue anymore with their new Internet start-up, ParknParty.

The downtown Ann Arbor-based website allows those attending a Michigan Football game to reserve a parking space online beforehand for the price of the spot and a $5-$7 convenience fee. It eliminates the game-day search for a space and allows groups of friends to converge and tailgate on the same spot.

"We thought, why isn't there a website people could reserve a spot at?" says Kapica. "I thought that was a great idea."

Kapica and Bond and their wives built the website earlier this year and launched it at the beginning of the 2011 U-M football season. It now has access to almost 3,000 parking spaces, ranging from house lawns to the 1,800 spaces at Ann Arbor Golf & Outing. The service has been hot and cold, with extremely light turnout for the Eastern Michigan University game (lots of locals) to selling out every spot for the Notre Dame game to lots of out-of-towners.

The start-up plans to expand this service to other sports venues in the Midwest, specifically other Big 10 teams, other professional markets, such as Detroit, and even for big, non-sporting events like Art Fair.

"This isn't something that will stay in football," Kapica says. "Art Fair has a huge need for parking and parking reservations."

Source: Jason Kapica, co-founder of ParknParty
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.
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