Internet entrepreneur Awais Imran, is teaming up with brothers Adnan and Adeel Shaffi, to take their substantial experience in Pakistan’s IT community and build something to solve domestic problems.
The two Shaffi brothers have launched and managed several successful businesses that include an IT services company and a technology boutique. While as a threesome, they also started and scaled technology blogs which were later acquired by international companies.
In an e-mail to e27, Imran stated that “After serving the international market for so many years … we wanted to work on solving problems in our own country.”
To begin, the trio researched e-commerce markets in India and Southeast Asia, especially because Pakistan had begun to embrace e-commerce together with its rising Internet penetration numbers.
“We discovered that as traditional e-commerce grows, so does comparison shopping. India’s MySmartPrice, Thailand’s Priceza, and Indonesia’s PriceArea are excellent examples of this, and a great source of inspiration for us,” said Imran.
Starting from mid-2015, the co-founders then began working on Khareedo, a price-comparison site for Pakistani e-commerce platforms. After several design iterations based on usability studies, they rebranded Khareedo to PriceOye, and formally launched it in February 2016.
To start with, PriceOye has 15 carefully selected online stores registered in their system, such as Home Shopping, Yayvo, Mega, and Symbios. Users only have to click on the products that they want to buy, and the system will show them the lowest online price.
The startup is run by a team of six — three co-founders, a developer, designer, and a content writer — and it is looking to expand to fifteen members.
PriceOye is currently funded through bootstrapping.
With a growing Internet penetration, the launch of 3G and 4G network, rapidly increasing public awareness of technology, and interest from companies such as Rocket Internet and Uber, Imran felt that this is ‘an excellent time to design technology-powered solutions as part of Pakistan’s maturing startup ecosystem’.
The country’s e-commerce market itself is predicted to hit US$1 billion by 2020, a massive boost from the US$100 million numbers from late 2015.
This makes Pakistan a blossoming e-commerce market, what has been PriceOye’s key takeaways?
“New Pakistani e-commerce customers are highly budget-conscious, and untrustworthy of online stores. Customers will visit several different online stores and repeatedly consult family or friends for recommendations before they make their final decision to buy an item online,” Imran said.
It is why PriceOye believes the solution to the issue is a price-comparison site which helps customers to decide the best store to shop in. The startup also hopes to build user trust by developing a rating system for the future.
PriceOye was first launched on the Pakistan Startups network, a Facebook group for the country’s IT community, where Imran said the company had been received with positive reviews from community members.
Apart from targetting to secure 20 online stores by end of March 2016, the company also plans to launch a service for offline retailers in major cities.
Image Credit: PriceOye