Who can forget the feeling of getting your first customer? For Shahryar Faraji, founder of 1receipt, it was a particularly euphoric experience. After years of developing the app, accumulating customer validation and too many rejections to count, he finally got his long-awaited “yes” from a retailer.
“When he was writing [his name] down… oh the satisfaction,” Shahryar recalled with a grin.
1receipt is a mobile app that stores all your receipts in one place. Not only are paper receipts a nightmare to organise, they are often discarded without a second thought, resulting in unnecessary and harmful wastage for our environment. 1receipt aims to solve these problems with its fully digital approach.
“We want to eliminate paper receipts entirely,” Shahryar explained.
The idea for 1receipt came to Shahryar in 2016. Like many people, he struggled to organise his receipts and kept losing them. This was a great annoyance when he needed to claim warranty for a purchase or provide proof of transaction.
“I also hardly ever use my receipts anyways, I always bin them,” he said. “So I thought: what could be the smart approach to eliminate these problems, for all my receipts to be in one place?”
In addition, the 1receipt feature is also available on Apple Wallet on iOS devices, creating an even more fuss-free approach for shoppers.
“You don’t have to share your email with the retailers and get spammed with annoying ads. Just like how you have a place for all your bank transactions, this is a place for all your receipts.”
Even though Shahryar’s creation is a simple and straightforward solution, his journey is anything but.
Adept in software development and coding, building a functional prototype was not a major challenge for him. However, getting customer validation was tough.
“The most difficult part was talking to customers,” he explained. “I would Google a list of shops on a particular street, Chapel Street for example, and visit them one by one, doing that from 10am to 4pm.”
“Sometimes, I will get a full day of consecutive rejections. Some retailers won’t even allow me to talk. I would enter and have to exit immediately.”
However, the toughest process was also the best learning experience. Hitting the streets in person exposed him to the queries that potential customers have about 1receipt. It enabled him to fill in the gaps of information and gradually improve his pitch and product.
Customers were not his only source of rejection. A current LaunchHUB team at Activator, Shahryar only got accepted into the program on his fourth application. He chose to take each rejection with grace and focused on improving his product based on the feedback provided by the Activator team.
His secret to never giving up was to have a supportive community.
“I surround myself with like-minded people,” he said. “When I went down, they would push me to come up eventually. That was the key factor.”
“I got support from my dad who also owns a startup, my tech advisor, family and friends. Their support is not always visible, but they are supporting you in every way that they can.”
Given his determination and self-assurance, it is easy to forget how young Shahryar is. After all, it was only three years ago when he was still taking his Year 12 exams while toying with the idea for 1receipt.
Today, he works on his startup full-time while pursuing a Bachelor of Computer Science degree at RMIT University. Shahryar balances his hectic schedule by being an early riser – starting work at the Activator co-working space at 7am every day and reserving his nighttime for coursework.
1receipt also offers Work Integrated Learning (WIL) opportunities for students at RMIT who are looking for real-life experience working in a startup.
He pointed out the benefits of interning with a startup, which includes working closely with founders to solve business problems and having more space to make mistakes.
“With a big company, making a mistake has higher stakes. But with a startup, the consequences of your mistakes are easier to remedy,” he explained.
In the coming future, Shahryar wants to collaborate with more retailers, especially supermarket chains who spend huge amounts of money on paper receipts. With every customer on board, 1receipt brings us closer to a more environmentally-friendly way of shopping.
Acknowledgement of Country
RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business.