The man in the video, Scott Kleist, had recently graduated from UNC. His video was part of a new entrepreneurial initiative called Tarheel Parking — “Secret Kenan-Flagler Parking 3-4 Min Walk!” as the video title clarifies. Tarheel Parking began in 2011, but it was shut down after a lengthy and complicated eviction process in December.
Two years before Tarheel Parking began, Eric McAfee moved into 1307 Mason Farm Road as a lessee. The property is one of six owned on that road by UNC. Before long, Kenan-Flagler students were asking McAfee if they could park on his yard to minimize their commute to and from class. McAfee said it was fine — he didn’t think much of it.
McAfee met Kleist that year after Kleist started classes at Kenan-Flagler as a transfer student. Kleist was one of the original students who would park on McAfee’s property because otherwise he would’ve had a two-hour commute. The two grew closer and decided to partner in the Launching the Venture program, a course series that works with entrepreneurial teams to launch startup ventures, at the business school.
McAfee and Kleist started working as partners on a “social network for gift-giving” called Gift Boogle, which they developed during the Launch the Venture series. During the course, entrepreneurs were encouraged to identify potential side value operations to fund their main project, so Kleist suggested to McAfee that he monetize his parking service. They bought the domain for Tarheel Parking and sent out an email to the Kenan-Flagler student email list. From there, demand exploded.
“It was like opening the floodgates,” he said. “So much money poured into the PayPal account, like, more than we expected, and we had to stop it.”
McAfee said he set up a system to coordinate parking on the property. After confirming an online payment, he would direct students to assigned spots marked with flags and lawn timbers. He made parking passes, which allowed students to rotate multiple cars through one spot if necessary. He charged $250 per semester.