Local Boys Win Local Contest

December 18, 2011

Need help finding a parking space in a busy Chicago neighborhood? There’s an app for that.

SpotHero, a Chicago-based start-up company that connects motorists with owners of city parking spots for rent, has won the city’s first Apps for Metro Chicago contest.

Jeremy Smith and Mark Lawrence of SpotHero.

The company’s founders, Chicago residents Mark Lawrence and Jeremy Smith, win a lot of exposure for their website, plus $10,000 for taking the top prize. They also won $5,000 during the first round of the competition, which focused on transportation-related apps.

SpotHero allows you to find a parking spot in Chicago, reserve it in advance, and potentially save up to 80 percent off rates you would pay by driving around and finding a spot on your own.

This app would be especially useful during trips to Wrigley Field, Cellular One Ballpark, Soldier Field and the Merchandise Mart.

You can search for your spot by event, neighborhood, landmarks and extended parking.

The company is also working on a SpotHero mobile app.

The Apps for Metro Chicago contest invited participants to submit Web and mobile applications that would benefit Chicago residents based on 200 data sets released by city, county and state agencies.

More than $50,000 in prizes were awarded since June, thanks to donations from the MacArthur Foundation, Chicago Community Trust and Motorola Mobility.

To find out more about the winners, visit

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