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Stellenbosch startup MySidekick launches new app for shoppers following pivot

Stellenbosch based tech startup MySidekick has launched a new app that serves up specials from various brands that shoppers are able to get from their nearby mall.

The app — which follows the startup’s unsuccessful first MySidekick app which failed to take off after it was launched in 2014 — has been available on the Google Play store since November 1.

MySidekick co-founder Leonard Brewer said the app has been downloaded over one thousand times since then, which he reckoned is a good number given the limited advertising the startup has run on the new app.

It follows a pilot the company did of the app targeting shoppers in Fourways, Johannesburg and the surrounding Stellenbosch area.

We learnt alot (from the first app failing). It was kind of (like paying) our school fees, says MySidekick founder

The former Nedcor banker, who is originally from the Netherlands, adds that usage of the app “has been good”.

The startup generates revenue by getting those companies who want to list their specials on the app, to pay to have them listed there.

Brewer and his three fellow directors (who are not active in the day-to-day running of the company) removed the old app from the Google Play Store some time ago, he said. “We learnt alot. It was kind of (like paying) our school fees,” commented Brewer.

The startup has been based at the Launchlab incubator for two years. It’s at the incubator that Brewer met Stellenbosch based investors Alphawave Ventures. In 2015 Alphawave invested R4-million in funding in the startup to help pivot the concept. Brewer added that the startup has not yet utilised the full investment and can still draw on what’s left of the initial amount.

Read more: SA mobile shopping app MySideKick announces R4m staged investment
Read more: SA might be in recession but opportunities are huge – Alphawave chairman

As the development of the app has been outsourced to EMSS, an Alphawave company, the startup’s team is small — at just five people.

So why did the old app not work?

Brewer said the old app contained too many “bells and whistles”. It was essentially an app that users could use to locate ATMs, retailers and petrol stations.

In contrast to this the new app focuses only on specials for shoppers.

The app uses data drawn from users to help personalise specials, to ensure that shoppers see those that are most relevant to them.

Brewer maintains that what sets the app apart from other apps such as Vouchercloud and PriceCheck is that MySidekick uses GeoFence to alert shoppers of certain specials when they enter their neighbourhood mall.

He reckons the app could work in any country, but that the startup will first seek to perfect the concept in South Africa before expanding to other markets.


Featured image: MySidekick co-founder Leonard Brewer (Supplied)