Parking App Wins Startup Weekend Powered by Google

Loyola Marymount University recently hosted its third annual Startup Weekend powered by Google for Entrepreneurs. For the first time, LMU’s College of Business Administration, Frank R. Seaver College of Science and Engineering and the College of Communication and Fine Arts partnered on the event.

The winning business, Park It—a parking app that lets you rent your driveway to users for a small profit—reflected the multidisciplinary partnership. Led by business administration and entrepreneurship major Joseph Screen, Park It brought together students from computer science, engineering, entrepreneurship and film to bring his vision to life.

“The majority of my team didn’t have any prior experience in the field of entrepreneurship and business,” said Screen, “we had a diverse team of various majors complementing one another with preexisting skills and talents. However, the implementation of each individual’s ambitious spirit, work ethic, and desire to learn allowed for our team to have great chemistry.”

The 54-hour event required teams to pitch original business ideas, form teams around those pitches and present their business plan to a panel of judges: Michael Miller with Wild Horse Labs, Sonya Sephaban with Join In.LA, and Shaun Arora with Make in LA.

“The ideas are more feasible at this event than most of the others I’ve been to,” said Arora, “I could see a lot of these businesses being funded.”

Presentations included market research, business plans, statistics, budget plans, and even prototypes in some cases. These elements were pulled together by team members who oftentimes started the event off as strangers across multiple disciplines.

“What I love about this is the multidisciplinary aspect of it,” said Sephaban. “A lot of times you go to events like this and it’s only computer guys, but this is a lot more real world.”

Sephaban was impressed with the diversity in gender, age, and ideas as well.

“I see mostly guys at these events,” Sephaban continued, “but the performance of these teams, teams that were significantly diverse, was much better.”

Lauren Kenes, a computer science minor on the winning team, felt the benefit of working amongst such an array of majors.

“I met a lot of people who are passionate about the startup culture, and I made a lot of great connections,” said Kenes. “My favorite parts were getting to finally use some of the skills I learned in class in a real world capacity, and meeting a lot of awesome people in the process.”

The top team won an array of awards, including a three-month membership to CTRL Collective and one-on-one time with the judges, time that can help Park It get to the next phase of its business development.

“They still need help getting ready to launch,” said Miller. “Now they have to set up a day-to-day business. They need money to get there and money to launch. We want to drill deeper into where they’re headed.”

Second place went to Artwork, an online collaboration hub for artists of all types. Third place went to APRL, a clothes sharing app.