Mark Lawrence saw the parking industry as the perfect place for innovation, so he started SpotHero with co-founder Larry Kiss. The company is a startup that provides on-demand parking options in garages, lots and valets.
The company, founded in 2011, moved into a new 28,000-square-foot office at 125 S. Clark St. in the Loop in early 2017. SpotHero employs about 130, with 110 in Chicago and the rest in offices in New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.
“It‘s kind of crazy to think back to just being a couple of folks, and now we’ve got 100 people based in Chicago — there’s a real national brand that was birthed out of Chicago,” Lawrence said in January 2017. “I’m really excited and proud of what we’ve done to date. We’re just getting started.”
New markets announced in January 2017, with more than 200 parking locations to start, include Austin, Texas; San Antonio; Detroit; Indianapolis; San Diego; and Sacramento, Calif. The company’s services are now available in 30 markets.
“We’ve been very selective in terms of how we expand and we’ve learned a ton over the years,” Lawrence said. “We’ve looked at what are the cities that are the hardest to park in America, and that’s where we start,” he said. “We’ve been really planning this for a long time so we could tee up a bunch of markets at once.”
Previously, Lawrence worked at Bank of America, where he was a financial analyst. He says he’s had an entrepreneurial spirit from a young age, claiming to have built his first company when he was in second grade.
He graduated from Bradley University with a bachelor’s in finance and Spanish.