Get to know some of Kellogg’s alumni who are bringing bold entrepreneurial visions to life.
As is the case with many great ideas, David Hegarty’s Fixed app came during a moment of personal frustration.
The Dublin, Ireland, native lives in San Francisco, where he managed to accumulate four parking tickets over a few weeks last year.
“I decided to pay them one morning, and when I came back to my car, there were two more,” Hegarty, 36, says. “At that point I was livid. San Francisco is pretty ruthless with the ticketing.”
An entrepreneur-in-residence at Palo Alto-based venture capital firm Merus Capital, Hegarty was mulling over ideas for a new startup when he mentioned his ticket frustrations to a friend.
“He said, ‘Dude, why don’t you turn that into an iPhone app?’” Hegarty says. “I took that idea and I ran with it.”
And so began Fixed, an iOS-only app designed to take the heavy lifting out of contesting parking tickets in San Francisco. Anyone who gets a ticket in the city simply needs to take a photo of the citation and submit it through the downloaded Fixed app. The Fixed team, in turns, drafts a letter to contest the ticket and submits it to the city.
Fixed makes money by charging users 25 percent of the cost of the ticket if they overturn it successfully. If they fail to overturn it, there’s no financial obligation to Fixed — the user must simply pay the ticket to the city.
Hegarty started work on Fixed last November. The app’s Internet landing page went “viral” two months later, he says.
“Before we knew it, we had about 25,000 signups and NPR called us for an interview,” Hegarty says. “That was when the app went live, and it has been growing its user base ever since.”