By SUSAN LAHEY
Reporter with Silicon Hills News
In Austin, Mike Holp has become one of those guys who seems to be at every tech event, making friends and hawking his app: Dude Where’s My Car?
DWMC lets iOS users mark where they left their cars so that if they have to park in some obscure spot—a common occurrence in Austin—or park in some huge lot at an event, they don’t have to worry about wandering for hours looking for it. But while losing your car is a drag, the most appealing thing about the app might be the developer himself. In the app world, where swagger is the culture, Holp is mild mannered, positive, plucky even. He’s so easy to like, you just want his app to succeed.
Currently, DWMC is a free app and has been downloaded by more than 8,000 people. But there’s a new pro version that uses Google maps to help you locate gas stations, restaurants, cafes and more for $2.99. Only around 30 people have purchased that version.
Marketing professional Mike Rozelle met Holp at a professional event—where Holp has become so ubiquitous—and downloaded the app afterward.
“I’ve used it several times when I was in the west 6th area where it’s hard to find a consistent place to park,” he said. One day he’d love for the app to be able to take pictures and map the location of cars near his that looked like they might hit his on the way out of a parking space.
“That would be an interesting feature to have,” Rozelle said. “I’m not sure how admissible it would be in court.”
Holp would like to beef up the app by partnering with Onstar or another company so that app users’ GPS would automatically detect when the car stopped moving so they don’t have to remember to drop a pin. He’s started an Indiegogo campaign, but it’s not doing much. In the meantime, he’s creating an app for Do512, scraping their site for what’s happening in Austin. “I figured I’d just put it out there and see what happens,” he explained.
He moved to Austin a year ago from Michigan State. Something just called him here. He shows up at everything, including being the only male to attend the Women in Technology Leadership and Entrepreneurship Forum during RISE. He was looking, he told the group of women, to push himself out of his comfort zone. That’s the kind of statement that has earned him a fan club in a short time in Austin.
As app user Mike Davis said: “Mike’s just a really good guy. I hope he succeeds.”