Mandeep Patel doesn’t like to slow down. He is fascinated by fast jets, fast cars and fast-paced business. While completing his engineering degree, Mandeep has founded two startups focused on normalizing renewable energy. His most recent venture, ElecTrip, is an electric vehicle transportation company. The company offers hassle-free business travel between Texas cities that is competitive with flying and without the wasted time of security screenings. Since its launch in March of 2018, ElecTrip has given more than 280 rides, growing at a rate of 20% each month. Clients include Shell, Deloitte, McKinsey & Company and the Texas Bar Association. Mandeep believes in his company so much that he has turned down engineering positions at established corporations after graduation. His dream is to fast-track the adoption of electric cars.
Why did you decide to come to UT?
My original plan was to go to community college for two years to save up money, but the Texas Exes gave me a sizable scholarship. I was so excited to be around incredibly ambitious people.
What do you plan to do when you graduate?
Starting this summer, I work at ElecTrip full-time as the CEO. I turned down a six-figure offer to instead come work on my own company. I recognize what I gave up, but working on this company is an amazing opportunity. I want to be utilized at 100%.
Going out on your own takes a lot of confidence. Where does that confidence come from?
Running a business is terrifying mostly because you could fail. But I guess I’m just not as scared of failure. That mentality is what allows me to be an entrepreneur. Failing doesn’t define who you are. You can always try again. I’ve become comfortable with failure, and I don’t really mind seeing it again. Pick yourself up and move forward, and don’t let anybody stop you, not even yourself.
What has been the hardest part of taking this leap?
I am the son of Indian immigrants. The hardest part was just telling them. It is disappointing for my parents to see me turn down what is essentially success in America, but at the same time, they support me. I hope in 10 years I can buy my mom the house of her dreams. She can design it and everything.
Tell us more about your company?
ElecTrip takes people between cities in Texas in Tesla electric cars, and while they ride, it shows them that, OK, electric cars can be used for long-distance road trips. It’s no problem. The long game is to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles. Battery technology is going to keep getting better. We just need to show people that it can work.
Where are you getting the Teslas?
We rent them from current Tesla owners. So we have a lot of night-shift nurses who have Teslas who rent them out to us because they are sleeping the entire time during the day. And so they are able to make back like 50% of the car note.
Why do you think electric vehicles are so important?
There are over a million deaths per year in China because of air pollution. Same exact thing is happening in India. When I went to south Mumbai, that was the first time in my life that I had experienced pollution like that. After walking around for maybe like five minutes, my nose started bleeding. I couldn’t imagine that people were living like this is normal. Electric cars definitely have an opportunity to change this. It’s time. We’re ready.
Mandeep Patel is graduating with a degree in mechanical engineering from the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin. He received a scholarship from the Houston Chapter of the Texas Exes and was one of the Shell Ideas 360 Global Winners 2017.