Web Startup Will Find the Best Parking Spot Ben Sann was a junior in high school when he came up with an idea for a website that would post the rates of parking garages all over New York. BestParking.com has now grown to include six cities.
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George Costanza was not known for his largess, or his patience. An episode in which the Seinfeld character angrily circles New York City streets in search of a free parking space sparked something in Ben Sann. A junior in high school at the time, Sann came up with an idea George would certainly have approved of: a website that would post the rates of parking garages all over New York.
"In New York, there is a whole culture around parking," says Sann, now 24, a 2010 graduate of Washington University in St. Louis. "There are always conversations about great early-bird parking specials and the price of monthly parking or a frenzy to move the car and circle the block for a new parking space."
Despite the preoccupation with where to park, there was no centralized database of parking rates for the city. Because he didn't have a driver's license, Sann rode around New York on his bicycle gathering data. With $50,000 in startup funds (a combination of bar mitzvah savings and a loan from his father), Sann launched NYCgarages.com in 2007. The website displayed the locations, rates and specials of garages citywide, helping drivers find the closest lot at the best price.