Entrepreneurship is powerful and something anybody can do. One needs determination, skill, and luck to become a superstar entrepreneur, but as someone famous once said, “Don’t go to Hollywood to become George Clooney; go because you enjoy acting.” Entrepreneurship works the same way. One should not get into this world to become rich and successful but because they believe and love what they do with a deep passion.
Sandilya Babbepalli, known as Sandy (like in SpongeBob and Grease) by all his friends and family, is a first-generation American College Go-er, his family moved to the United States when he was in high school. Just like both his parents, Sandy chose to go to college to study computer science, pursuing a tech job in Silicon Valley.
Once Sandy got into Barrett the Honors College, ASU, destiny had other plans; he was meeting his CS requirements and doing really well in school, but when he took his first business class and enjoyed it his future was set. He added a Business Data Analytics major as a second major and took an upper-division elective class called FSE 301 – Entrepreneurship and Value Creation. There he created “Housa”, the new and innovative housing app geared toward college students to aid in the process of finding reliable and affordable housing.
While Sandy was attending this class during the fall of 2020, he and some of his peers in the class from both W.P. Carey School of Business and Ira A. Fulton School were designing new and exciting solutions. Sandy’s first thoughts went back to his most instinctive need, he had always wanted to be famous. As a kid, he wanted to be a major movie star and not because he liked acting as mentioned above, but because he wanted to be famous, so he started working on a service called “5 mins of fame” which was an SEO tool for different platforms like Tik-Tok, Instagram and many others.
In FSE 301, there was a project where one had to interview potential customers and during it, Sandy could not really find many people who liked his idea and felt like it had a pain point. One night in the middle of having a conversation with some of his friends, they started complaining about housing during their junior and senior years. One of them said something about the difficulty in finding affordable housing throughout college. This conversation sparked some ideas for Sandy, so he went back home and turned to Google, and began researching. He quickly came across a study conducted by the Philadelphia Report in May of 2020, which uncovered the following: “More than 5,000 students and found that over half of students at two-year colleges and nearly one-third of students at universities experience food insecurity and/or housing insecurity” (Samaria Bailey Tribune Correspondent). Feeling optimistic about the opportunities presented by this problem, he continued researching and began sketching his idea on a piece of paper. Within three days, “Housa” had almost materialized on paper.
When he attended FSE 301 on Monday and in the breakout rooms and presented it to the group, he got a lot of great feedback from his Instructor, Brent Sebold, the Breakout group peer leader, as well as his classmates. These responses allowed him to patch holes in Housa as a concept he otherwise may have missed.
To close this in Sandy’s own words: “I love that I had decided to take FSE 301, I had a blast in class and learned from people who are really knowledgeable. Working with actual customers taught me so much. A school assignment is not something I would have expected to give me a sense of purpose in life, but now I want to make Housa a reality and available to every college student. Perhaps Housa could be the thing I need to grow big to eventually help me fund movies or even become a movie star in Hollywood or Bollywood (laughs)”
Click the following link to watch Housa’s pitch: https://youtu.be/IRE9NiQPdrM
Pictured: Screenshot of app startup
Pictured: Screenshot of the app in action after preferences have been specified by the user
Correspondent, Samaria Bailey Tribune. “Many College Students Struggling for Food, Housing, Report Finds.” The Philadelphia Tribune, 12 May 2020, https://www.phillytrib.com/lifestyle/many-college-students-struggling-for-food-housing-report-finds/article_5c1423e7-b924-55f0-82bf-09fe1fc3e9f3.html