AirGarage originally began with a common personal problem: Scott, Chelsea, and Jonathon were tired of paying insane prices to park at our university.
Meanwhile, nearby driveways were sitting empty. We knocked on doors in the nearby neighborhood and found a person willing to rent us a spot in their driveway for much less than what the university was charging.
This led us to build a peer-to-peer network for driveway owners to rent out their unused space to college students in search of affordable parking — a fun project that the local news loved to talk about.
However, we soon realized that there was a much bigger problem that we had stumbled on without meaning to: parking real estate is inefficiently used throughout cities.
We learned that the average American city dedicates 37% of its land area to parking. Estimates put the number at 8 parking spaces per car in the US.
The reason for this is that parking lots are often locked away for private use behind chains or tow-away-zone signs, despite not being used the majority of the time, this has forced cities to grossly overbuild parking space to ensure you can find a space when you need it.
This led us to the realization that the reason parking is so expensive and difficult to find isn't due to a lack of supply, but a lack of access.
We thought, what if there was a simple way for these private lot owners to open up their space for public use while it would otherwise be sitting empty?
Today, AirGarage is focused on 'unlocking' this underutilized supply of parking spaces around the country for public access, generating additional income for small businesses and churches while making transportation less painful for everyone.
Turning spaces from single-tenant (customers only) to multi-tenant (public welcome) is the first step on our journey.
In the future, we'll be working to transform these spaces not only from single-tenant to multi-tenant, but also from single-use to multi-use — we envision a future in which parking lots in our cities can be seen for the valuable real estate they are and be utilized for their highest and best use.
This could range from supporting future distribution and charging logistics for Autonomous Vehicles to empowering small pop-up shop entrepreneurs to providing on-demand warehouse space to enable faster delivery of essentials to consumers.
The point is not for us to predict what these future industries will be, but instead for us to provide the platform within cities for them to build upon.
In the same way that Stripe has built an API for interfacing with the legacy payment infrastructure, and Twilio has built an API for interfacing with the legacy phone infrastructure, AirGarage is building an API for interfacing with the legacy real estate infrastructure in cities.
Doing so will foster innovation and entrepreneurship in our cities, developing them into more vibrant and dynamic places for all people. If that mission excites you, join us.
Searching for a parking spot in parts of San Diego is a surefire way to make your blood boil. But a San Francisco start-up hopes to relieve parking pains with its app AirGarage. Read story →
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Jonathon Barkl is the co-founder and CEO of, a managed marketplace for renting physical space, starting with parking lots.
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Parking at Arizona State University can be expensive, so two students created a workaround - And one year after launching, half of their users are churches. Read story →