ParkStash: Like Airbnb, but for parking spaces

The parking nightmare confronting many motorists may have an innovative solution in San Jose. Even when the campus is closed for Spring Break, finding parking near San Jose State University is a needle in a haystack proposition. It’s worse when classes are in session.

“I was spending 30 minutes just to find a place to park. It was really stressful for me as a student, because I got to worry about my classes,” said Sameer Saran.

A former engineering grad student, Saran applied himself and sought a solution. His 2016 idea: create a parking app linking motorists with open spaces. 

He submitted the proposal to the Silicon Valley Business Planning Competition. 

“His original idea had some flaws...and I suggested to Sameer that look, it’s much better to have a platform to connect people,” said Hooman Bolandi, a judge in the competition who would end up going into business with Saran.

Three years later, that connection is now made through the ParkStash, the so-called Airbnb of parking apps. Drivers sign up, enter their location, and see a list of spaces homeowners are willing to rent – by the hour, day, week, or month.

“If these homeowners can just share their valuable resource with the student and staff community here at San Jose State, we could solve the whole problem,” said Saran.

Karen Ajluni and her family rent their home’s driveway while at work during the week, as a way to supplement their household income.

“It ends up being a little under $100 a month. It’s not a lot of money. But every little bit is a nice little chunk,” said Ajluni.

While this new parking app is having positive impacts on some people’s bank accounts, what’s also catching some people’s eyes, and garnering some ire, is what some people here in the Naglee Park section of San Jose say is an influx of vehicles and outsiders.

Naglee Park is within walking distance to the college campus, and many of the spaces listed are in this neighborhood.

“With ParkStash, free of cost, we’re providing the whole driver information to you. It’s not a stranger. You have everything you need to know who’s coming to park in the driveway,” said Saran. 

Added Ajluni, “I feel like there’s less of an incentive for someone to do anything erroneous because we know who they area.”

Currenty, ParkStash is centered on the college community, focusing on millennials and Generation X, but Saran eyes expansion to areas around malls and sporting venues as the South Bay’s open spaces become green again. 

The ParkStash app is available on Apple and Android devices, in the respective app stores.