How the Philly tech scene helped this dev build a new parking app - Philly


Sep. 30, 2015 8:04 am

How the Philly tech scene helped this dev build a new parking app

Amit Rao moved from Silicon Valley to Philly two years ago and is now a big believer in the local tech scene. ParkSnap, its website reads, is “Crafted with love in Philadelphia.”
Philly’s dreaded parking meters.

Philly's dreaded parking meters.

(Photo by Flickr user RayBanBro66, used under a Creative Commons license)

Amit Rao wasn’t sure if he’d like Philly.

Rao, 42, a native of Mumbai, India, had spent much of his adult life working as a developer for tech giants on the West Coast, like Microsoft in Seattle and Yahoo in Silicon Valley. He was working at Intuit, on the 14-person team for personal finance app Mint, when he made the move to Philadelphia — his wife, an anesthesiologist, had gotten a residency at Hahnemann Hospital.

“I was a little nervous,” Rao wrote in an email, “as I did not know if there would be much of a tech scene in Philly, whether we would adjust to cold winters/snow and whether working remotely would work out for me.”

More than two years later, Rao’s happy to announce that Philadelphia has won him over.

“Although the decision to move from California to Philly was a tough one back then, we love Philly and I have no regrets,” Rao wrote.


Amit Rao. (Courtesy photo)

It didn’t start out so great. He spent a year working from his apartment in Center City, which was tough because there was barely any work/life separation and no social interaction with co-workers. (The bulk of his Intuit team is based in Silicon Valley.)

But then he found community with PhillyCocoa, the iOS developers meetup group, and Old City coworking space Indy Hall.

His latest project, a parking app that lets users take a photo of their parking tickets and get reminders for when the meter’s up, came out of PhillyCocoa’s “Side Project Saturday” meetups, and he worked with designer John Merigliano, a fellow Indy Hall member, on the app.

Rao launched ParkSnap on Monday.

The website reads, “Crafted with love in Philadelphia.”

Download for free

(Side note: Parking apps have grown popular among Philly devs. Call it the PPA effect.)

Rao, who recently moved to Logan Square, has also been working with DreamIt companies as a tech advisor.

He has a couple of other mobile app projects in the pipeline, including a medical alert app.


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