Martin De Klerk Moatshe (31) has found a niche in the market to make life a little bit easier for customers when sourcing quotations from various suppliers. He has created an application called iFirsh Request For Quotation (RFQ) which can also be downloaded on a mobile phone, to assist both suppliers and customers without having to resort to tedious and costly means of getting quotations.
The App was launched in 2021 October and it can be downloaded on google play or on the app store.
Moatshe is the founder and CEO of iFirsh, an On-Demand Quotations app that allows buyers to create requests for quotations of products and services, pick the industry and location they want to source quotations from and that quotation request instantly reaches all suppliers within that location and specifications.
The iFirsh app saves time and money for the buyer from doing the conventional physical running around from one supplier’s premises to the other looking for quotations, or from making countless phone calls to get the best deal.
Moatshe says for these companies to receive the RFQs they also need to download the iFirsh Supplier app. On this app suppliers are able to create their profiles and the buyer will be able to see the profile of the supplier from what they produce and the services they offer.
This app is also targeted at Small Micro Enterprises (SMEs). A small business that supplies alluminium windows or any hardware material by the road side in Bontleng, Gaborone can upload pictures of their products and the buyer is able to access them on the app.
The founder and CEO of iFirsh says this app allows SMEs to compete in the market because customers are able to a find a supplier who is not known and doesn’t have the marketing budget like big businesses.
iFirsh is offering transparency and expanded market reach which Moatshe says could also assist with government public procurement for small RFQs and not the big ones that usually have to go through PPADB.
He says procuring entities might not like iFirsh because it is opening up the system to everyone and in the process creating fairness.
Moatshe believes this will also reduce the printing costs for supplying entities because with iFirsh you ask for a quotation digitally. It is eco-friendly and the customer will have a dashboard that compiles all their history.
They have three subscriptions on their app. iFirsh Expose that goes for P199.00 per month. iFirsh Grow which is P299.00 per month and a supplier is given five extra locations of their choice that they can receive quotations from. As well as their unlimited subscription called iFirsh Scale which goes for P599.00 per month. With this subscription the supplier is able to receive quotations countrywide.
Moatshe says they are not specific to SMEs because they need anchor tenants which is why they are pursuing corporations to onboard their platform. He adds that so far they have 168 suppliers, over 700 buyers and an average of at least 40 RFQs on a daily basis and for the first time last week they received 290 RFQs in a day.
Moatshe believes they are fully aligned with the current government’s mandate of a digital economy. “We really need government’s support especially for small micro procurements that we do. If we can do that we are going to see the digital economy at full scale starting with small businesses that provide goods and services.” He says since Botswana wants to connect with Africa this will assist the country when AFCTA kicks in full force.
Amongst the challenges that they face is adoption from government and the private sector. Martin says they need to be known (advertising) and they need money to do that.
Moatshe says his company’s biggest value proposition to government is job creation. They are a team of six and if everyone could be industry specific they would be able to employ more people. He believes that technology closes the unemployment gap because the more people use it the more people get hired. There is also value chain creation on iFirsh because after asking for a quotation and getting a purchase order, a local courier company would be able to deliver the package to the client.
They won a P100 000 from the TotalEnergies StartUpper challenge recently and Martin says they will be deploying all that money to reach every small business as far as Kachikau. This is the fuel for them to reach people who produce products and services at the far end of Botswana and to sign them up to iFirsh. “It’s going to be used to onboard SMEs. We want Batswana to buy locally made products by Batswana,” he added.
iFirsh is an idea that Moatshe says he has had for a long time but shelved. In 2020 when the country was going on lockdown he wanted to sell sanitizers and he had a lot of stock at home which he couldn’t sell because he didn’t have a movement permit. Immediately after the lockdown they sat down and started putting together iFirsh.