In Zimbabwe, it is the norm that customers conduct price checks before making purchases. At some point, I thought it would be awesome to have a virtual platform that makes it easy for customers. Well, I am glad to see that someone has decided to develop such a platform – Price Check ZWE.
A Brief Overview
Price Check ZWE is a mobile app that helps you to find the best deal for all your shopping needs. The app is available for download on the Google Play Store. I downloaded it and took a sweep through it – I love the minimalistic approach in its interface’s design. It has two price search options, namely Bucket Search and Store Search. With Bucket Search, you can select multiple products and search for the cheapest store. With Store Search, you can view product prices in a specific store. I took the liberty to interview the brains behind the app; his name is Tony Tinashe Togara.
Kindly tell us who you are, including your goals & objectives?
My name is Tony Tinashe Togara, I am 25 and a software developer who specializes in developing Mobile and Web-based solutions for corporates under the company Elixir Technologies Pvt Ltd (https://elixir.co.zw) which I founded with some partners. My purpose is really simple, to make this world a better place through building systems that improve people’s lives by helping them make extra incomes and to make their day to day tasks easier through the use of affordable solutions.
When and how did you start?
I have always wanted to be a software developer since I was in grade 5. It has been a dream that has always been burning inside me. The reason being, there is so much impact one can make on this planet with software solutions and in most cases, you can change people’s lives for the better. As for my development work, I started in 2015 at Harare Polytechnic, ended up leaving before finishing the course, felt their languages were outdated, which they are. Joined Muzinda Hub, an Econet Wireless Subsidiary under a scholarship.
Thereafter I was self-taught on more programming languages. Since 2015 I developed my first android app Hurudza (An application that was for farmers, with a couple of features such as crop production guides, weather data, crop diagnosis and other features). This application I developed with two close friends of mine (Brave Svomai & Kenneth Marume) who would then be co-founders in the company we founded, Elixir Technologies. Hurudza was then adopted under an NGO programme, Inspire, in 2015 in partnership with Eco-Farmer and Esoko which is a Ghanaian based software company.
Since then, my partners and I have focused on building software solutions tailor-made for corporates to help in their day to day business operations. Our current sectors of interest are Real Estate, Agriculture and Retail as we have developed solutions that are for different service providers in these sectors. Since then, our team has grown to be an 8-member group of talented software developers with a range of skill-sets.
What’s your long term vision?
My long term vision is to be the leading software solutions provider in Zimbabwe and beyond. With our solutions targeting cooperates and some targeting the consumer market directly.
Tell us about how you ended up with Price Check idea?
As we have been in the retail sector, our main purpose has been to provide companies that manufacture products with data that helps them understand how their products are performing on the market. While this has been very successful on the corporate partnerships side, we have also realised that with the deteriorating living standards in Zimbabwe, people have been failing to get access to data on where they can get the cheapest products from the supermarkets. As a result of this, we ran some trials to check on how much people wanted this information, by collecting product prices and first distributing them through WhatsApp. There was an overwhelming response from the market which led us to this initiative.
Tell us about your team?
We have a team of diverse talent, with the following members:
- Tony Togara – Mobile Development – native android and Swift iOS Dev & Web Development (Front and Backend Dev).
- Brave Svomai – Business Development.
- Ronald Mutsikwi – Front-End Web Development and UI and UX Designing.
- Maxwell Munyangani – Mobile and Web (Hybrid Development).
- Tafara Mundere – Hardware Specialist and IOT.
- Kenneth Marume – Hardware Specialist.
- Bright Made – Web Development (Front and Backend Dev)
Currently, how do you cater to your financial needs and material needs?
Firstly our main costs are server costs and anything important in ensuring that our systems for our clients remain online. And all our existing clients have annual hosting and maintenance fees which they pay. Other services we offer are monthly subscription-based, for our retail products. We also offer website development and hosting as well as email hosting to corporates which also helps ensure our entire core expenses are catered for. As for the cost of living, we do make payouts whenever we can, but our partners already have other jobs that cater to their cost of living.
What main challenge are you facing?
The main challenge we are facing is some of our products penetrating the market. Which is mainly marketing related more than anything else.
What form of assistance would you need to optimize and grow your work?
A strong partnership on the marketing end that will ensure our products are taken up by both corporate and the consumer market.
For those interested in assisting?
They can contact me directly on firstname.lastname@example.org and we can go over the terms.
Tell us anything you feel the people out there should know?
Zimbabwe is such a beautiful country. We have amazing talent that you can always tap into for various services. In my experience, most major contracts we received, were from companies that could not afford to keep paying external service providers who charged insane prices for a system which in some cases was not even as good as what we have offered our clients and at half the price in most cases. In some cases, we did contracts for clients that had received poor services from Indian based suppliers. In closing, I would say, test the waters and believe in your own, and you will be surprised!
You can access or download the User Guide for the app here.