#10 – Solar Power, Electric Vehicles, & Running Two Startups at Once w/ Mandeep Patel

Mandeep Patel is finishing up his bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and is already the co-founder of two companies. His first business, SunCo, aims to make solar energy more accessible while the second, ElecTrip, offers private trips via Tesla to any major Texas city. Patel’s mindset is that “things that are worth doing take time,” and a willingness to work without success allows real entrepreneurs to make a difference.

Despite his success, Patel said he is not a fan of the hustler mindset. Patel’s father owned a motel, which left him, his sister, and his mother to live in a one-bedroom motel room in Hempstead, Texas while his father tried to make ends meet. He said he saw the way poorly structured entrepreneurship can mess up someone’s life.

“I respect a hustler’s ambition, but they definitely need to see the plan all the way through to the end,” Patel said.

Patel said he had the idea for Sun Co. “for the longest time,” but it didn’t come to fruition until he and his co-founder, Taylor Zhao, entered the Shell Ideas360 Global Ideas Competition in 2017. They won the finals in London against 757 teams from across the globe. Now, Sun Co. is running tests on a low-cost solar tracker that is 90 percent less expensive than similar devices to take their fair share of the solar industry market. The company’s goal is to reach a point where they can say, “in any weather circumstance, this will work.”

Most people in the business world will warn against starting a second company, but that didn’t stop Patel. Putting his time management skills into practice, he started ElecTrip to create a more comfortable experience for those traveling between major Texas cities. But in order to do so, he first put all of his life savings into buying a Tesla. ElecTrip now owns two Teslas and rents other electric vehicles from around the area to transport business professionals in a private, cost-efficient way. The company currently provides 1.5 rides a day, and it plans to expand to 30 trips a month for the rest of 2019 to reach a projected evaluation of $1.5 million.

“We think we’re going to grow pretty fast,” Patel said. “We’ve found the verticals that we succeed in, and we’re targeting those aggressively.”

Patel wishes he could say he simply powers through tough moments, but he said it’s not always that easy, especially considering the suicide rate among entrepreneurs is perilously high. Patel said it helps him to visualize his end goal. In his eyes, there is only so much time to advance professionally before life tacks on more and more responsibilities, so he takes advantage of every opportunity he can while he’s young to avoid regret.

“I’d rather sleep on the couch in the ETC than be sleeping in my California king bed thinking, ‘wow, what am I doing with my life?’”

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