Money back with the app that keeps track
When Declan McDonald spent $7,000 on new kitchen appliances, he did some research on the price protection policy offered by the company – and saved $1,500. A business idea was born. McDonald went to the Eureka Project – now North Forge Technology Exchange – where he was introduced to Rob Keizer, a technology specialist.
Together they built an app and a company that would do the heavy lifting for consumers interested in price matches.
A price protection or price match policy allows people to get money back if an item they bought becomes listed for a lower price within two weeks to three months after the purchase date. With Pricerazzi, the app user simply takes a picture of the receipt and Pricerazzi searches for a better price. If a better deal is found, the user pays 15 per cent for the information, then takes it back to the original retailer to claim their refund. On average Pricerazzi users get back $200 dollars and McDonald said not one person has been denied a refund.
North Forge has been instrumental in helping guide the company to where it is now.
“When I was introduced to (North Forge president) Jeff Ryzer, he understood the idea but knew what we needed to get there. In one year we built a staff, a team of developers and launched the app in Canada and the U.S. Jeff gave us direction that I wouldn’t have figured out myself,” said McDonald.
In addition to the mentorship and strategic planning, North Forge provided access to critical talent for the startup – connecting them to Keizer as their CTO and a team of developers.
Pricerazzi has also benefitted from Startup Winnipeg resources. A move from the SmartPark space at the University of Manitoba brought Pricerazzi to offices in Innovation Alley at 321 McDermot St. With other tech startups just down the hall, the atmosphere creates a competitive environment with valuable networking opportunities.
“We moved from the table in my dining room to an office, which allowed us to hire people. No one wanted to come to work at my house,” McDonald joked. “The second part was the ongoing support from Jeff as a mentor and now North Forge, as a whole.”
Startup Weekend, and the Innovate Manitoba Venture Challenge Competition that followed, saw Pricerazzi take first place. The resulting $20,000 in cash and in-kind prizes allowed them the opportunity to pitch at the Canadian Financing Forum, where they brought home the award for Best Presenting Company.
In April 2016, the app launched in the U.S. and McDonald and Keizer participated in the Collision Conference in New Orleans, where they made it to the semi-finals and finished in the top 20 of all competing businesses.
“We did really well at Collision and we’ve found a lot of new opportunities. The direction we’ve gone is something I wouldn’t have been able to figure out myself – the (support we’ve had) really helped us determine where to go,” said McDonald.