Barcode your business with SA startup Big Inja

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Launched in August of last year, Johannesburg-based startup Big Inja uses the power of barcode-scanning technology to allow various types of businesses to automate data collection.

Big Inja, available on iOS and Android, made its entrance in the event sector, allowing organisers to automate delegate tracking and entry control, but the business is expanding into other areas, such as asset tracking, stock control, CRM and people analytics.

The success of the company since its launch just a few months ago has been noticeable. Self-funded to the tune of ZAR2.5 million (US$215,000), the company is now breaking even from its zero lock-in, US$75 per link revenue model.

“Our roll-up analytics and cross service data aggregation provide never before experienced business insights,” Ryan Meiring, founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of the startup, told Disrupt Africa.

“Our offerings are very modular and solutions can be built up to include an array of products. Products can be used individually or deployed together to provide a full end-to-end solution.”

He said the startup had identified that improved camera scanning on mobile created the possibility of deploying business automation services globally, with Big Inja able to help its clients overcome business challenges at a fraction of the costs usually associated with automation solutions.

Big Inja has received close to 400,000 barcode scans so far across its various services from clients that include Gartner, and though the majority of early uptake has been in the events industry, usage is growing in other sectors.

“We have a handful of clients using our fixed asset tracking service and some beta testers on a loyalty programme solution we have just released,” Meiring said, adding the company is also in negotiations with security and property management companies for a visitor management solution for corporate parks and last month released a competition judging service.

While expanding into other sectors, Meiring also has his eye on other regions, such as elsewhere in Africa and internationally, but says the company’s revenue and growth model relies on cross-selling and building up solutions.

“Another growth strategy is to empower associations with high-level cross client and cross service analytics that will encourage sector-wide adoption,” he said.

“In addition to this we are looking to replicate a licence agreement we have in the events industry for more of our products.”

Big Inja is marketing through numerous channels, including pay per click (PPC) advertising, but has thus far focused primarily on geographically limited licence agreements.

“Being a technology partner to a business using one of our products has worked extremely well for us, both in getting traction and in getting the necessary feedback to grow and refine the offering,” Meiring said.

“Once a product has been elevated from minimum viable we target users outside of the licence agreement – this is our expansion plan.”

He said the company faces difficulties in demystifying business process management and automation, as well as in getting clients to understand just how “powerful, feature-rich and filled with value” the startup’s products are. But he says the end result is positive.

“Once a client a client is able to take a product for a spin they immediately see how far the benefits outweigh the costs,” he said.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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