SpotHero IQ

Hi! Thanks for checking out our blog. My name is Sunny Gurm and I’m the Senior Engineering Manager for SpotHero IQ – SpotHero’s intelligent pricing system.

Today I want to talk a little bit about what SpotHero IQ is, the types of problems we work on, and a little bit about the amazing team I get to work with every day.

What is SpotHero IQ?

SpotHero IQ is an intelligent pricing system that uses real world data and machine learning to automatically generate prices for parking spots. You may have gone to a pricing garage in the past, and have seen rates posted on a board in front of the garage. These rates are fixed and unchanging; sometimes, you may see daytime, weekend, and overnight rates as well. The problem with this approach is that the parking garage is not considering:

  • Demand
  • Weekly usage patterns
  • Surrounding prices of similar garages at varying time bands
  • Type of facility
  • Etc.

SpotHero IQ, on the other hand, looks at facilities in an area and aggregates typical usage over time, as well as prices other comparable facilities are charging.

We then use a machine learning model to generate thousands of rates – so that you, the consumer, get the best possible price for the time windows you want.

What types of problems do you work on?

Just like the team (more on us later), we work on diverse problems. We ingest a lot of data, train machine learning models, and develop APIs to serve up pricing for virtually every major market in North America (if we’re not in a city near you, don’t worry, we’re coming!). SpotHero IQ is at the intersection of:

  • Economics
  • Machine learning/statistics
  • Backend engineering
  • Data engineering

On any given day we may be talking about API development, machine learning model metrics, geospatial data, price elasticity, or a new product feature we want to implement.

Every sprint is different, and we love being multidisciplinary.

Our next big project is building a new ‘rates’ service from the ground up in Kotlin!

SpotHero IQ, Data Science, and Business Analytics on a Zoom call; contemplating some geospatial data

The team

If I had to pick a word to describe our team, I would choose “innovative”. To work on multidisciplinary and ambiguous problems, you need to have an innovative and creative mindset.

The SpotHero IQ team pondering the state of the parking market

A key component that drives innovation is diversity – imagine having a team where everyone thinks the exact same way. You typically won’t get very innovative ideas out of that team!

We all come from different backgrounds, have different upbringings, and different life experiences. We have people who have worked in finance, biotech, gaming – the list goes on. Each person truly brings something different to the table.

As an icebreaker at our most recent SpotHero IQ summit in Chicago, we did an icebreaker where we all did Holland’s 6 personality types survey. We found that we were literally a well rounded team:

We were shocked to see that we had somebody in every category – but after some reflection, we weren’t that surprised. The ‘diversity of thought’ metric is very high on this team, and we owe our innovative mindset to that. We feel that everybody on the team is a culture add, rather than a culture ‘fit’.

Featured Profiles

  • Sunny Gurm, Sr. Engineering Manager, SpotHero IQ
  • Bio: I was born in India, and immigrated with my family to the US and eventually Canada where I did a majority of my education (highlight: doing an internship abroad in Karlsruhe, Germany!). I worked for 10+ years in the medtech/biotech industries focusing on R&D, machine learning, and computer vision applications. I am a sports fanatic, avid reader, traveller, and amateur beer brewer.
  • Hometown: Kitchener, ON, Canada
  • Current Town: Ottawa, ON, Canada
  • Parking Style: If nobody is watching, I’ll (try to) parallel park
  • Favourite Movies: Trading Places, Pulp Fiction, The Great Escape
  • Random Personal Fact: I genuinely think Malort tastes good

  • Paul Favorite, Product Manager, SpotHero IQ
  • Bio: I grew up in Michigan, went to school in Arizona, and have settled in Chicago ever since. I live in the city (dreaming of the suburbs!) with my wife Kaitlin, son Theo born in April 2022, and our dog Irving. I’ve been at SpotHero for over 4 years and have a background in data analytics. I enjoy comedy, Detroit sports, UFC, brewery hopping, traveling, trying new restaurants, and playing as much hockey as I can.
  • Hometown: Novi, MI
  • Current town: Chicago, IL
  • Parking Style: Backing in. Nothing better than driving directly out of a space
  • Favorite Movies: Shawshank Redemption, Mystic River, Elf
  • Random Personal Fact: I’ve ran 4 marathons – Chicago (x2), Detroit, and Disney in Orlando!

  • Amish Popli, Data Scientist II, SpotHero IQ/Data Science
  • Bio: Amish was born and raised in Delhi, India. He moved to Canada in 2018 to pursue his Masters in Business analytics. He currently working as a data scientist on the dynamic pricing team at SpotHero. In his last role, Amish worked as a data scientist for the AI Innovation lab at an investment bank. Amish is very passionate about everything related to data and believes that the next tech boom would be fuelled by big data. Outside of work, he enjoys swimming and playing badminton. He also spends his free time watching sports, particularly cricket and Formula 1.
  • Hometown: Delhi, India
  • Current town: Toronto, ON
  • Parking Style: Parallel
  • Favourite Movies: Lord of the rings, One Flew Over Cuckoo’s Nest, Catch Me If You Can
  • Random Personal Fact: I don’t use any social media

  • Reed Hogan, Sr. Backend Engineer, SpotHero IQ
  • Bio: I was born in Louisville Kentucky, raised in Milwaukee WI, and currently live in Chicago IL.  After studying economics and finance in college, I worked as an equity options market maker on the CBOE floor.  Initially writing code was a hobby, but it became clear to me that I wanted to pursue this as a career. I got a job making mobile apps at a consulting firm, and later on worked on the SpotHero iOS and Android apps. When I am not working, I love cooking a fun meal, reading non-fiction books, and playing basically any sport that doesn’t include water.
  • Hometown: Milwaukee, WI
  • Current town: Chicago, IL
  • Parking Style: Definitely drive farther to park easier.
  • Favourite Movies: The Big Lebowski
  • Random Personal Fact: I was a competitive fencer in high school.

Interested in joining this Squad?

We have a position on this squad for a Backend Engineer, with over 5 years experience – working in Kotlin and Python. This engineering role is focused heavily on backend application development with a focus on preparing our data models; it will entail API implementation, modelling, and running Machine Learning models in production. In addition to the above, this individual will be expected to instantiate, observe and maintain infrastructure, both AWS managed and open source solutions.

You can see the open role here:

If you’ve made it this far – thanks for reading! It doesn’t have to end here. If you’re looking for your next challenge, we want to hear from you!