Big Inja is the startup hound that wants to barcode your business


We’ve seen some exciting developments happening in the QR space, with the likes of SnapScan and its competitor Zapper having injected a fresh sense of purpose and experimentation in South Africa’s mobile payments scene.

Now — trying to find the holy grail in the B2B space — Big Inja (meaning big dog in Zulu) thinks it’s up to the task of automating business processes, using its cloud-based barcode and QR code scanner app.

In a nutshell, Big Inja’s app barcodes your business from head to toe; stock to staff. From asset tracking, event management, stock control and attendance monitoring, the app’s uses are quite extensive, and growing by the day.

The data is then chewed up, regurgitated and presented in such a way that the client’s business can have access to actionable data in all different kinds of formats and preferences, from excel spreadsheets to any other way a business could make sense out of their operational dynamics. Think colourful graphs and pie charts.

While data-crunching can become quite a tedious process, founder Ryan Meiring stresses that Big Inja’s mission is to focus on the storytelling aspect of a company’s inner-workings, in a fun and meaningful way.

We spend a disproportionate amount of time making our reports and products look beautiful and developing our systems to be full of fun, valuable content and quirky interactions because we want the world to smile while achieving their business goals!

Situated in Johannesburg, South Africa and run by Meiring and Alan Haefele, the startup officially launched in August this year and has so far been self-funded by the former, who has invested R2.5-million.

After studying Industrial Engineering and Environmental Sciences at Wits University, Mering went into organising trade shows, helping exhibitors get information from visitors interested in their services.

Before Big Inja, Haefele ran a software development house in the UK for about eight years, which has served the likes of TESCO. This paw in the door would allow for easier expansion abroad — something the company says it’s very keen on in the future.

“We have been in the mobile barcoding space for 10 years solving business automation and tracking problems,” says Meiring. “As soon as smartphone/tablet camera barcode scanning technology became available we knew we could deploy our proven services to a much wider audience.”

“Our online web application now allows us to set up and deploy services globally in minutes,” boasts Meiring. “As soon as smartphone camera barcode scanning technology became available, we knew we could deploy our proven services to a much wider audience. We were limited in the past geographically and could only deliver services to clients to whom we could provide a physical traditional laser scanner.”

Ultimately, Big Inja wants to compete with the likes of SAGE and SAP systems that are being used in the SMME space. It wants Big Inja to inspire an army of data hounds across the globe.

Now any investment north of R2-million is quite a large chunk, so cute animations, explainer clips and snappy dog puns aside, the proof inevitably lies in the product performance and traction. How has the big dog fared thus far?

While preparing for launch, Big Inja has snatched up over five clients. n the last six months, the service has accepted and processed over 335 000 barcode scans.

Surprisingly, there are no contract fees involved. Instead, it’s R750 per application with one device (linked to the platform) included. Any additional devices linked will cost you R250.

Big Inja believes in the art of simplicity and achieving the same outcome in less steps. As Meiring explains, the company wants to automate mundane tasks and eliminate human error.

“Dog years are short and it really gets our tails wagging if we can free people up to do more important things with their precious time,” founder Meiring aptly puts it. “We are complete geeks here in the Big Inja pound and believe that technology is a true enabler; we are always sniffing out the latest tools and hunting for more efficient ways to do things.”

“We want to reduce barriers for small- to medium-sized operations and through analytics we want to empower these companies to make truly informed business decisions that will see them compete with much larger organisations,” he says.

Meiring admits that a problem is convincing people of Big Inja’s applications and its real value to businesses. “Demystifying barcoding and getting people to understand the true power of what we can do for them,” is one of the company’s biggest challenges, he says.

Jacques Coetzee: Staff Reporter


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