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How This Parking-Spot App Beat Competitors... By Moving Slow Under pressure to grow fast, the SpotHero CEO insisted on moving slow and steady

By Jason Feifer

This story appears in the September 2020 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »


Mark Lawrence kept hearing the same thing from investors: If he wanted their money, he'd need to expand fast.

It was 2012 and Lawrence was cofounder and CEO of SpotHero, a startup that enables drivers to book parking spots in advance — say, at a lot or a garage. Competitors were spreading across the country, and investors saw a land grab. The company with the biggest footprint seemed likeliest to win. "They said they would invest if we had more scale, and if we were in more cities," Lawrence recalls.

But Lawrence had a different idea. He'd launched in Chicago and wanted to master one city at a time. "I didn't know I was right," he admits. But entrepreneurs must constantly make difficult, consequential decisions — ­weighing others' advice against their own gut instincts, even if, deep down, they have no idea who is correct.

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