ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Whether it’s the rush to the Minnesota State Fair or a favorite sporting event, the pursuit to find affordable, convenient parking is rarely easy or inexpensive.
Enter University of Minnesota senior, Jackson LeFebvre, who says proudly, “I’m pursuing a business degree in finance and entrepreneurship.”
One thing is certain: LeFebvre is clearly an entrepreneur. He’s built a way to match prospective parkers with available space. And in doing so, bring dollars to those with driveways, front lawns and vacant parking lots.
“I came up with ParkPoolr after we’d meet for Gopher football games. My dad would struggle finding open parking,” LeFebvre said.
Lefebvre is beta testing ParkPoolr after rolling it out this spring at Minnesota United games. He wants to test its effectiveness and demand at the Minnesota State Fair. He will be looking to see if nearby property owners want to list their spaces where fairgoers can park.
Since the process is transacted electronically over the website, there’s no need for a homeowner or lot attendant to be present. Drivers prepay with a credit card and use their license plate to assure proper parking.
Says Beth Ulrich, who lives nearby, “It’s an awesome idea and I think there’s a ton we can learn from it.”
Ulrich sells spaces in her lawn across from the fairgrounds and will give ParkPoolr a limited test this year.
“A lot of people take this week off and make money off from it. But if I could go to work and manage my property and know I get the money I wanted, I think there’s a lot of appeal for homeowners,” Ulrich said.
LeFebvre says the business model has been extremely successful at Minnesota United games, where over 100 peer-to-peer parking transactions take place each game. It’s especially useful to churches and businesses, that don’t need their parking lots for their patrons.
“People can now pre-book parking before going to their event and get cost certainty and peace of mind,” LeFebvre said.
Also in the works, LeFebvre is developing a mobile app and sees ParkPoolr going nationwide at some point in the future.
“I just think it’s a great idea. Good for him being in college and coming up with a business model to apply to the real world. I just think that’s awesome,” Ulrich said.
The state fair is but his latest test, putting money in homeowners pockets and cars in a convenient places.