March 25, 2013 3:53 pm
Updated: March 25, 2013 5:38 pm

UNB students aim to solve parking woes with smartphone app

What began as an idea for UNB engineering student Phillip Curley, became a summer job – in just 52 hours.

Curley pitched his idea, Hotspot Parking, alongside 30 others at the East Coast Start-Up Weekend. The event allows young entrepreneurs the opportunity to have their ideas improved by industry experts.

“I was sitting around campus trying to park and I couldn’t do it, and it was really frustrating so I decided to take it upon myself to come up with a convenient solution,” Curley said.

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On Friday his idea was approved, and a team was formed. It included engineering, business and industry moguls who all brought skills to the table.

By Sunday the idea became a business, won first place and had interest from investors and the City of Fredericton.

The concept means you don’t have to carry change around with you, because you can virtually pay for your parking through an online app. And you can pay for it wherever you are. Parking officials scan the license plate, which will tell them if you’ve paid or not. They already have the technology, it would just mean downloading the proper data into the scanners.

An aspect Lashpoint—a software developer—has already agreed to help them with.

Keagan Marcus is one of the brains behind it all. He says Hotspot has caught the eye of several Maritime cities, including Saint John.

“A lot of people have parking problems, and I think there’s a need for our product. Hotspot Parking is solving a real pain. Because of that I think going forward it will be a viable company,” he said.

That’s why Rivers Corbett, CEO of Relish Gourmet Burgers and one of the judges at the East Coast Start-Up Weekend, says Hotspot Parking deserved top spot.

“I think any opportunity where you can touch on a customer pain point because we can all relate to the, ‘Oh my gosh, there’s the darn ticket,’ to also a pain point for cities, they’re always looking for revenue opportunities. It’s a great thing.”

The team will do a beta version first.

They plan to make further improvements to the app, such as adding the ability to display available parking spots, in future updates.

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