Taiwanese Introduces "Parking Airbnb" to New York, Xtraspots to Free Up Urban Parking Lots

"One time in San Francisco, I parked my car and went to have dinner. The homeowner nearby believed that I blocked his private driveway, so he called and towed my car away, which ended up costing me $500. The cost of my dinner now seems like just a tip," said Antony Chang with a laugh, who is the founder and CEO of Xtraspots. This "early investment" sparked the entrepreneurial concept of Xtraspots in Antony Chang's mind.


Xtraspots was established in New York in 2021, inspired by the concept of Airbnb, offering the service of "shared private parking lots." Homeowners release vacant time slots for people to park in their parking lots, which not only addresses the pain point of finding parking, but also generates revenue for the homeowners.

Offering the service of "shared private parking lots." Homeowners release vacant time slots for people to park in their parking lots.

Difficulty in finding parking spaces is always a problem in metropolitan areas. What Antony Chang is trying to do is not only about "shared private parking lots." Everything can be traced back to the company he once worked for, SolarCity, which was merged into Tesla by Elon Musk.

San Francisco vs. New York: Ideal Business Launch vs. Shared Parking Lot Advantage

The reason SolarCity was merged into Tesla is that Elon Musk proposed the idea of using solar energy as the basis for a charging cycle. Antony Chang also believes that electric vehicles are the future. Coupled with the $500 incident, he thinks converting privately-owned home solar energy systems into shared charging stations is a good idea. However, he notes, 'The hardware costs of charging stations are high, and coupled with the fact that electric vehicles are still a distant future, it's too early to discuss this topic.'

Antony Chang believes that since charging stations are still based on parking spaces, it's best to start solving urban parking problems from his own personal experiences.

Not long after, Antony Chang moved to New York for work, bringing this idea to the Big Apple. While San Francisco may be a more vibrant place for startups, the traffic in New York is even worse than in San Francisco—a fact that suits Antony Chang's intentions perfectly. "In California, one mile takes only 1 minute, but in New York, it takes 5 minutes!" Development on the East Coast of the United States started earlier than on the West Coast, so many facilities are quite old, including roadside parking designs that often frustrate car owners.

At this time, Antony Chang met Charles Sepulveda, co-founder of Xtraspots. Charles Sepulveda also harbored aspirations for entrepreneurship, and the two hit it off immediately and embarked on the entrepreneurial journey together. However, their initial two startups were not related to shared parking spaces, but rather Charles Sepulveda's ideas: a moving service matching platform and an indoor reservation platform.

The Xtraspots team, from left to right, consists of Vincent Casale, Business Development; Sander Chen, Chief Product Officer; CEO and Co-founder Antony Chang; Co-founder Charles Sepulveda; and Director John Shahin.

"At that time, the pandemic ended our moving service, so we switched to indoor reservations because there were capacity limits in the city at the time. Unexp
ectedly, as we continued, the pandemic disappeared," Antony Chang said with a laugh. Through these two entrepreneurial experiences, he learned that the most important aspect is not about choosing the right timing for entrepreneurship or relying on luck, but rather having proprietary technology.

Antony Chang mentioned that he comes from a business background, and Charles Sepulveda doesn't have a technical background either. So, in both startup ventures, they relied on manual labor to handle each task one by one. In situations where it was difficult to scale up, growth was limited, and sustainability was a challenge.

To address the issue of technical capabilities, Antony Chang brought in Sander Chen, with whom he had previously collaborated, to serve as the Chief Product Officer. At the same time, they established a subsidiary in Taiwan and built a technical R&D team, which eventually led to the inception of Xtraspots, a shared parking space platform.

Generating Revenue, Enhancing Convenience: Xtraspots Liberates Parking Space Utilization

"We call it Xtraspots (pronounced as extra spots), aiming to release the usage rights of parking spaces," explains Antony Chang. Unlike other competitors at the time who focused on partnering with parking lots, Xtraspots aimed to release privately owned vacant parking spaces, including those at churches, office buildings, or private residences.

The approach is similar to Airbnb: homeowners provide their address, photos, and open booking time slots on the platform, while drivers reserve parking spots through the app. The parking rates range from street parking to parking lots, reducing the cost of finding parking for drivers and bringing additional income to homeowners. "We estimate that each homeowner can earn $300 in additional income per month, while also saving drivers half an hour of early departure time," says Antony Chang.


Xtraspots' service may seem like a shift from Airbnb's accommodation model to parking, but it's not entirely the same.

Xtraspots' service may seem like a shift from Airbnb's accommodation model to parking, but it's not entirely the same. While Airbnb operates on a daily basis, urban parking is predominantly short-term, often measured in hours. Thus, dynamic pricing and increasing turnover rates pose technical challenges for Xtraspots, setting it apart from competitors who primarily focus on monthly rentals.

"Our solution is to design dynamic blackout periods," explains Xtraspots' Product Manager, Sander Chen. Simply put, this means that consecutive booking periods are not allowed. For example, if someone booked a parking spot from 13:00 to 14:00, the adjacent time slots would be unavailable for booking. The actual blackout duration depends on the demand at the time and the proximity to peak hours.

In addition to the technical challenges, Antony Chang emphasizes the importance of customer service. Since parking is an immediate need, any issues or problems must be resolved immediately. "Currently, half of our team serves as customer service representatives to address issues promptly. Of course, in the future, AI will automate this part," Antony Chang adds.

Since its launch on February 5th, Xtraspots has onboarded approximately 20 homeowners and registered 200 members. The business model adopts a revenue-sharing system and currently focuses mainly on New York as its primary service area, with plans to gradually expand to other metropolitan areas in the future.

Xtraspots will continue to invest in advertising efforts to enhance brand awareness and user engagement.

Diverse Perspectives Empower Taiwanese to Lead

While it's common for Taiwanese people to start businesses in the United States, leading a team of diverse backgrounds in entrepreneurship may not be as common.

Antony Chang shares that the United States is a cultural melting pot, with African American, Latino, Italian, and Asian American populations everywhere. Doing business here requires learning to embrace diversity and respect, which can lead to more opportunities, resources, and funding. For example, one of the co-founders of Xtraspots, Charles Sepulveda, is Latino, which increases the chances of accessing funding from investors who support Latino entrepreneurship.

However, with a diverse team background, does the multitude of opinions often lead to conflicts? "Actually, the key behind this is: How do you make foreigners willing to start a business with you?" Antony Chang explains. Since studying in the United States, he has made an effort to interact with people from different cultures and languages, trying to understand their preferences, getting to know them, and dispelling stereotypes. This mindset is essential for leading a diverse and international team. If disagreements arise among team members, leaders should be the first to admit mistakes and take responsibility, which can help diffuse anger and refocus the team on discussing what truly matters.

As for the possibility of expanding the business to Taiwan? Antony Chang jokingly says that Taiwan already has startups addressing this pain point, so Xtraspots will primarily focus on the United States. However, he hasn't forgotten the original idea, which was to share electric vehicle parking and charging spots.

Xtraspots Officail WebsiteOfficial