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Music is better together
With the help of student designers and engineers, Shariq Shah has created a new platform for web and mobile that allows people to instantly change a song the moment they enter a room.
Unlike other music platforms, Ambii allows for social listening by combining the music tastes of everyone in a party curating the best music for the group.
“My goal is that no one will ever enter a place and say, ‘I hate this song’ again,” said Shah, CEO and founder of Ambii.
Currently, Ambii has two main listening modes, Music Queue and Party Radio. Through Music Queue, listeners can actively add, upvote and downvote songs to control a playlist. Eliminating the need to constantly swap aux cords between individuals.
Party Radio allows listeners to enjoy music that suits the tastes of everyone in a room.
“The idea of Party Radio is to have your music follow you,” said Shah. "When you enter an establishment, your music preferences automatically join the music selection, and when you leave, it leaves with you."
With the help of Alex Luong, head of projects for IDEAS, Shah and his team took Ambii to IDEAthon—a startup competition held at SJSU—but did not progress past the final round because of his pitch.
During the next few months, Shah developed a stronger team with a more robust pitch in preparation for Silicon Valley’s Innovation Challenge—a competition for student entrepreneurs. Shah impressed the judges with his refined pitch placing first for Best Pitch at SVIC.
Following their big win, Ambii was selected to receive funding from Ray Zinn, Silicon Valley’s longest-serving CEO, as part of the ZinnStarter Program.
In the coming months, Shah plans on polishing Ambii in preparation for the Business Plan Competition and its $10,000 prize.
“With Ambii, groups of people are empowered to listen to everyone’s music,” said Shah.
Park More, Stress Less
SJSU’s student entrepreneur, Steve Suarez, has created an app named SpotMe designed to help students and professors find on-campus parking prior to entering the garage.
The app simply connects to sensors in the parking garage, notifying students and professors exactly which floors have available parking or if the garage is full.
“My dad told me there are two types of people who view problems. The people who see the problem and the people who see an opportunity. I saw an opportunity to help people save time and stress,” said Suarez, a 19-year-old entrepreneur at SJSU.
Suarez came up with the idea in his business class where he was required to create a solution to a problem. The concept and name SpotMe sparked when his professor was forced to cancel class due to the lack of parking.
Outshining his peers, Suarez went to SJSU’s IDEAS Lab, where he was mentored by the head of projects, Alex Luong. At IDEAS, Suarez formed a team to participate in the annual IDEAthon, an event designed to collaborate and network with professionals.
At IDEAthon, Suarez met Rob Frizzell, CEO of Omnipress, who assisted him in finalizing his idea to partake in Silicon Valley’s Innovation Challenge, where Suarez placed fourth in the elevator pitch round.
Today, Suarez is collaborating with SJSU’s parking services, Peter Dezena and Charlie Fass to merge SpotMe and SJSU’s future plans with the school’s parking.
In addition to finding parking, Suarez plans on developing a carpooling system within the app where students will be matched with others according to their school schedules. Once finding a match, SpotMe will notify the students and ask them if they would like to keep link up.
Suarez’s ultimate goal is for his app to be successful so he can reach out to other schools and ease others’ parking struggles.
“Ideally, I’d love for my idea to branch out in the Bay Area and if it’s a success, go national,” Suarez said.