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.