Finding parking can be a major frustration on campus and anywhere with a lot of people. But, William Pepper, a second-year student studying computer science at the University of Utah, thinks he has the solution with Parq, an app for home and business owners to rent their parking spots to people.
Parq plans to launch its app in 2020. The company wants to change the way people think about parking and be the most popular parking app in Salt Lake City and beyond.
“Parking apps that allows people to rent out driveways already exist,” Pepper said. “But we’re adding an entirely new feature that no parking app has that ensures parking is cheaper and more efficient.”
It all started when Pepper decided not to purchase a parking permit on campus due to the cost. This resulted in many tickets that eventually costed more than an actual parking permit. But then he discovered an even bigger issue.
“I was shocked to find that even after I spent $300 on a parking permit, I still couldn’t find a parking spot,” Pepper said. “I knew there had to be a better solution. I realized there were so many houses with empty driveways that could be rented out to people.”
Soon after, Parq was born.
The startup received a Get Seeded grant for $2,500 from the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute in October 2019. It already has people signing up to get the app before the launch. Pepper is also working with the 7-Eleven near the U and plans to work with all the businesses around the campus.
“Many home and business owners already rent out their parking spots during the football games, but with the app, you can make money daily, and it handles transactions for you, making payment safer and host don’t have to be home or out in the cold holding signs,” Pepper said.
Other Parq team members include Juno Kim, a developer and an alumnus of the U who studied computer science; Brandon Howard, a 3-D artist and a current film student at the U; and Chris Le, an advisor and serial entrepreneur with multiple funded startups.
“We have a very talented team with people who are passionate about solving this age-old problem,” Pepper said. “With Chris and Brandon’s notoriety in tech and the esports community, Juno’s skill in programming, and my experience in marketing, I truly believe we make this happen.”