|Andy Bangash, Founder SAPE|
1. Why do you want to be an entrepreneur?
I always wanted to be an entrepreneur for personal freedom but realized that I didn’t know where to begin. Luckily, UC San Diego has a strong innovation culture. As an undergraduate student, I had the opportunity to participate in various startup programs. One of the programs that played a role in my development was the Institute for the Global Entrepreneur's (formerly von Liebig Center) National Science Foundation Innovation-Corps (I-Corps). I-Corps helped me develop an understanding of my idea with a focus on product/market fit through customer discovery. I connected with my mentors Kai Wenk-Wolff, Brenda Wallach, Brian Richardson and Farshad Mohamadi who guided me through the weekly instructions both in-class and in the field to validate my business idea. At the time, my business idea was to create a complete detection system to protect critical infrastructures from drones. While I learned the tools and techniques at I-Corps for the defense against drones idea, I would later use those same concepts for SAPE.
2. What is SAPE?
SAPE (Search Available Parking Everywhere) connects drivers and parking owners who have an opportunity to rent-out unused parking spaces. SAPE also introduces the very first complete alert system to inform drivers about on-street parking and street cleaning rules for specific street locations. I have had my fair share of paying parking fines and being confused about street parking regulations; my goal is to solve this issue with this easy to use mobile application. SAPE Website
3. Where did you come up with the idea of SAPE?
The idea of the parking app came from a horrible personal experience. One day I left my doctor’s office only to find that my car was missing from where I parked it in the metered spot. I've parked at the same location multiple times without any problems, but this time I was unaware that parking enforcement changed street parking times. The day was miserable for me since I had an $80.00 taxi ride home and the following day paid $700 to get my car out of impound. All of this would have been avoided if I had a tool to notify me of the new street parking times.
4. Where are you in the development process?
SAPE is a simple and smart mobile app which will be ready to use in the upcoming weeks on both Android and IOS devices. SAPE's cloud API contains over 70,000 street parking information for San Diego. SAPE will be there to help users find and reserve parking, and most of all help avoid expensive parking violations. SAPE has fifteen active beta-testers sharing constant feedback through our messaging channels. SAPE may seem like another mobile parking application for some people, but for many, it will be a lifesaver for dealing with the current parking situation.
5. What do you want people to take away from this interview?
Everything I have learned at UC San Diego, from IGE and my mentors, I have applied towards building a solid foundation for myself. I invested a good deal of time and hard work to develop SAPE. At one point, I was told that the " idea will not work.” Users have shared remarkable testimonies, which empowers my drive to keep pushing forward. UC San Diego is a place where others understand me for my innovative ideas and provide a supportive environment to make my dream a reality.
Sikandar (Andy) Bangash is founder & CEO of SAPE. He is currently studying Bioinformatics at UC San Diego. To learn more about SAPE, please email Andy at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Institute For the Global Entrepreneur runs NSF I-Corps quarterly and the next cohort is January 2019.