Parking reservation firm enters D.C. market

You can now include the Washington parking lot industry as coming under the thumb of the online “disrupters.”

Chicago-based ParkWhiz.com started selling spots near Nationals Park on May 14.

The company, begun in 2006 and now with 3 million spaces nationwide, allows customers to reserve spots online at more than 125 venues across the nation. ParkWhiz is working locally with two parking companies, Atlantic and Central. But anyone can work with the company to sell a spot.

The Buzz jumped onto the Web site and checked the prices. A reserved space at Atlantic Parking’s S Street SE lot is $17.50; at Central’s 4th Street lot, the price is $12.10.

The six-year-old company keeps around 15 percent of the price, while the rest goes to the owner of the space.

“When you look at comparable industries, what Expedia did to the travel, airline and hotel industry, what Open Table did to the restaurant industry and Stubhub did with tickets, we’re bringing it to the fragmented parking industry, which is around $30 billion annually, online,” co-founder Aashish Dalal, 34, said.

“D.C. is a market we’ve been targeting for a while. We are starting around Nationals Park and hoping to expand downtown.”

But are they making money?

“We wouldn’t be in business for six years if we weren’t,” Dalal said. “We’re killing it.”

The Buzz hears:

Glenwood-based Healthcare Interactive Federal hired Lockheed Martin veteran Todd Thompson as chief operating officer. Thompson ran products and programs for big Lockheed customers such as NASA, General Motors, the FBI and the Defense Department. Healthcare Interactive is developing health care data technology.

D.C. United has selected tech start-up Korrio’s sports platform to manage the club’s youth programs. Korrio will manage D.C. United’s academy and camp operations, including registration, roster creation, communications, scheduling and social media for athletes, simplifying life for some 1,300 future Beckhams.

Lori Graham, a former corporate attorney with the Washington office of Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal, is setting up shop on 14th Street NW. Graham, who now works as an interior designer, is opening a furniture showroom at 1412 14th Street June 29 with a private preview on the 28th.

Developer Len Forkas, who founded Milestone Communications, a cell tower company based in Reston, spent the last two weeks riding his bike in the Race Across America from north of San Diego to Annapolis in 12 days. The schedule was to ride 20 hours a day and cover about 250 miles per day. The businessman had a nine-person support team. As of press time, he had raised $150,000 for a charity he founded called HopeCam which provides computers and iPads to kids with cancer so they can keep in touch with classmates and others. He started the charity a decade ago after his son Matt was diagnosed with cancer; Matt is alive and well and HopeCam has helped over 250 other children create connections.

Thomas Heath is a local business reporter and columnist, writing about entrepreneurs and various companies big and small in the Washington Metropolitan area. Previously, he wrote about the business of sports for The Post’s sports section for most of a decade.
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