Hi, I’m Manoj Nathwani. This time last summer, I was working in a boring Job, like the typical 17 year old (you all know what that’s like) where I was asked to compare the prices of the company’s products with several of their competitors. It took me over four LONG days to complete this mammoth task and in thinking I was done, soon realised that all the data and work I had been doing from day one was now out of date! Something needed to change.
I started to realise that this job was almost too repetitive for any person to do and it became one of those robotic tasks that I knew needed to be carried out by a computer. So that’s where the ideas started. I imagined a system that could automate the mundane job of fetching prices off websites and then businesses could take advantage of being up-to-date on their competitors pricing and change theirs accordingly. I already saw this working in the company I was working for, as there were already instances where their products were not competitive enough - and even examples where they were far too cheap. Clearly they needed my help!
I talked to the manager of the company about making a competitor price monitoring system for them - in return for advice on what businesses would want. I then decided to carry out some market research and phoned a number of companies that have an ecommerce website. After speaking to them I realised there was a huge potential for my service so I decided to spend all my time working on it. My Dad helped with setting up the business and finding customers (thanks Dad), which allowed me to spend all my time dedicated to building our service, Price Trakker.
I spent day and night working inside Visual Studio to develop my solution and move forward with my vision. Once I started my course at university I met other students who had skills which I knew I would need, such as building a website for example, which allowed me to get friends involved. Through splitting the workload, it allowed me to spend more time developing our main service and ultimately grow the business.
Whilst studying Computer Science at Brunel University, I discovered it was hard to run a business from inside halls! However, using the right technology, such as Skype, I was easily able to keep in touch with the team. Truthfully though, it was definitely tough balancing university work alongside developing Price Trakker, but I always made sure I was still performing to the best of my ability at university. I needed to learn from my lectures and apply that knowledge to my work to Price Trakker! The hardest thing was probably waking up at a decent time every morning to check my emails…. definitely not the typical life for your regular student!
In February I attended a Microsoft Windows Phone Camp at Brunel, delivered by Ben Nunney, and got given a DreamSpark code that enabled me to get top of the range developer software for free! I was even able to get hold of Visual Studio Professional which helped out with developing my software even further. Free software… what more could you want!?
I found the university phone camp very beneficial and practical as it allowed students to jump straight into designing and developing apps. It also allowed different types of developers or designers to do what they do best; HTML, C# and Visual Basic and combine them to make interesting applications for Windows 8 or Windows Phone. Moreover, attending the events gave me a good connection with the Microsoft Academic team in the UK.
Through keeping in touch with the Microsoft UK Academic Team, I got a chance to speak to Phil Cross about my company and how useful I was finding the developer software provided through DreamSpark. Phil then took it that step further and introduced me to BizSpark, who literally throw all the free software you could ever want to play with (a true developers dream!)
BizSpark is an amazing resource if you are starting your own company; I signed up and two days later we went from several machines to using three servers with Microsoft's new Server 2012 operating system, which I got free from BizSpark. This allowed us to save money on computer power as well as going green by using less machines to run our services.
I still can't believe how easy it was to sign up to BizSpark, we signed up on Friday night and by Monday afternoon we had access to all the latest Microsoft software for free as well as access to events and the ability to network with other technology companies- a resource that is truly invaluable to any budding businesses out there.
I am looking forward to working with Microsoft and the BizSpark team to help me take Price Trakker to the next level! Already I’ve seen it helping to take the stress off the software licensing and allowed us to take care of what matters - our business and technology.
Over the past couple of months Price Trakker has grown beyond our wildest dreams. Literally every business that we approach has shown an interest in Price Trakker and we now have a team of six sales people. We also have interest from several large corporate companies who require high volumes of price monitoring. Thanks to Microsoft and their BizSpark program, deploying large systems is no longer a problem. Not a bad start for a 17 year old boy with a vision, and the right contacts to make it all happen!
If you’d like a look then you can sign-up for a free 14 day Competitor Price Watch service and see how you can save time and make more money. If you have an ecommerce website then you need Price Trakker, and you can see some sample reports here.
Price Trakker was developed by a company established more than 30 years ago with a large e-commerce website.
Hi, interesting comment "a" - do you have a link to any more details - I couldn't find any????
The original company I was working for was Keyzone, who I made the software for in the first place, after realizing the service was something we would market, I started the company Price Trakker and together we joint forces, working together to develop Price Trakker.
This means many of the Keyzone staff who have experience in eCommerce (for over 30 years) help in developing Price Trakker, giving us the insight on exactly how we can provide a service to best suit our customers.
In fact my desk it next to a Keyzone salesman who uses Price Trakker all the time to give quotes to customers over the phone, sometimes knowing what everyone else's prices are helps to give a better price on the spot - its a pretty awesome feeling seeing my software being used like that!