A 21-year-old student from Stellenbosch University in South Africa Western Cape will this year launch digital receipt tool Slippy to change the way customers and merchants interact.
Anneli Nel came up with the idea for Slippy in 2013 while doing vacation work at PwC, where she identified a challenge within the current bookkeeping systems.
“All forms of processes in the business world have become digitised, whereas we all still have our purses cramped with paper receipts,” she told Disrupt Africa. “I realised, as in any challenge, there is a great business opportunity. It was a scary risk I took, but three months later I took all my savings money to register my patent.”
At this point Nel was just 17, but Slippy has come a long way since then. The basic idea is that it digitises all processes relating to source documents from the point where the customer purchases a product to where it is viewed on their accounting system.
“Slippy does not only digitise your receipt but rather digitises the processes wherein your receipts are used,” Nel said.
“Slippy creates a direct link between the retailer and customer for any purchase documentation queries, returns and authorisation. Another important aspect is the way Slippy will categorise you receipts. The user will be able to categorise it in a variety of ways to obtain any specific detail as to your purchase. Finally Slippy digitises all purchase documents from your slip to your delivery note.”
Once the startup launches in the middle of this year, retailers will provide it with transaction information, which it will then pass on to customers. It will initially be targeting specific retailer industries, but hopes to later move into a wider arena.
The overall aim is to integrate with existing accounting and payroll systems, so that recons are simple and accurate, documents stored for SARS’ access, and the entire ecosystem searchable. Essentially, it is accounting records as they should be in 2017, saving people from flipping through thousands of stapled documents.
Since registering her patent, Nel has been working with the LaunchLab incubator at Stellenbosch University. Development was slow going until she won the ATTACQ retail competition hosted at the incubator last year, gaining some seed funding as a result.
“They provide me with a vast amount of resources, mostly in the form of networking. Until recently I was the only one working on the idea, but an industrial engineer has now joined my team,” she said.
“Our current tasks are divided into the development of a business model that supports the integration with information systems, and secondly technical requirements and the integration with information systems. Once these steps are developed we will start developing the system that we will implement at a retailer we have already identified.”
Aside from the ATTACQ funding, Nel is the sole funder of Slippy.
“I own a goods store on our farm and most of the basic funding comes from it. I plan to sell it in the near future, when all the funds will be invested into Slippy,” she said.
“Part of the development phase is to prove the long-term potential of our business which will help us obtaining required capital from investors like ATTACQ.”
In fact, Nel said the registering of the patent was the easy part in the evolution of Slippy.
“As part of developing my idea, I started talking to people as to what the chances of success would be. I was very young, and I often felt like I was not taken seriously. On numerous occasions I felt like giving up, until I became a part of LaunchLab which hosted the ATTACQ retail challenge,” she said.