Cape app founders are trailblazers in the industry

Capetonians Ryan Marx and Jacqueline du Plessis reached nearly 200 000 downloads on their app, FOMO, in under two years. Picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency (ANA)

Capetonians Ryan Marx and Jacqueline du Plessis reached nearly 200 000 downloads on their app, FOMO, in under two years. Picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Oct 2, 2022

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Cape developers are creating apps fit for everyday life while simultaneously making a name for themselves in the industry.

Since launching the FOMO application at the start of 2021, Cape Town co-founders Ryan Marx and Jax Du Plessis have reached nearly 200 000 downloads.

FOMO connects users with the specials at restaurants, accommodations, activities or events by using geolocation to find specials in their immediate vicinity.

The duo recently partnered with Google to allow users to book directly through the search engine’s maps, search and assistant to make it easier for users to make and manage reservations.

Marx said the partnership was a big deal for both of them.

“Through Google’s reserve application programming interface, restaurants can now accept and manage their bookings on their Google business profile,” he said.

“This streamlines the process and user journey and can only lead to more people in seats, increasing revenue for restaurants.

Du Plessis said their app’s success was centred around improving a user’s experience.

“We listen to our users and don’t get offended easily. We assess our weaknesses and play on our strengths. It’s vital to think about new additions,” she said.

“Secondly, our marketing technique is different. We use real experiences like our influencer programme to promote the app,” she added.

“We (also) have a handful of people working together to reach the same goals with the same vision, which shows in our work.”.

Marx said the app was built with a capacity to run efficiently, even with thousands of users utilising it.

“Even if it looks good and performs well with five people using it, it might start to slow down and break when you start getting more popular,” he said.

He added: “ It needs to handle huge traffic. Invest in a good server that can handle the load.”

In future, the pair is looking at launching a loyalty programme because - who doesn’t like being rewarded for their devotion to a brand?

“We want to reward customers who frequent their favourite restaurants as well as move into a more customer-centric experience,” said Du Plessis.

“We want to include the digitisation of restaurant menus and ordering and paying inside the restaurant all through the app. So watch this space.”

Another Cape rising star making the most of applications is the founder and CEO of the RushTush brand, Rushda Moosajee, who launched her fitness application RushTushFit two years ago.

Rushda Moosajee is the CEO and founder of RushTush and was recently part of the Real Housewives of Cape Town franchise. SUPPLIED

As a qualified personal trainer, Moosajee created an application to help women train through every stage of their life.

RushTushFit was recently featured under Africa Month on the Apple app store.

Moosajee said the feature was a recognition of hard work for all who had contributed to creating the application.

“I built a household name for RushTush through my ebooks, workout programmes and YouTube. The next step was to encompass my teachings in an app that was dedicated to the brand,” she said.

“I believe it is successful because my workouts are creative, and they speak to women. Each user has access to a structured programme. It’s not just a bunch of random populated exercises making up random workouts.

“The app is easy to navigate because I wanted it to be fuss-free. Making things easier for the user means longevity.”

Her advice to anyone creating an application is to save up, prioritise marketing and be passionate about it.

“It’s important to have a huge buffer of funds and a cash projection post-launch. You need to do what it takes for the app to be known, and you are going to need real love and devotion,” she said.

“Become familiar with outsourcing. Creating an app costs a lot more than you think it does.”

In future, she plans to incorporate more challenges into the app.

“This will be a once-off in-app purchase for an intensive six-week course designed by me to give you a taste of the workouts on the app,” she said.

Top South African apps for you to download

EskomSePush is a free load shedding app that sends push notifications with updates on the current stage of load shedding. Users can view the load shedding schedule for their region on the app for up to a week at a time.

SweepSouth is a cleaning service which connects you with a cleaner within minutes. The app allows you to book, reschedule and choose your rate before matching you with a Sweep Star (cleaner).

Waze is South Africa’s map application, but smarter. The app shows live traffic updates, alerts users of the speed limit in an area and alerts you of accidents or roadblocks causing delays on the road ahead.

Hello South Africa is an application that promotes multilingualism. The application translates everyday phrases into all 11 official languages of the country.

SnapScan allows you to make purchases by scanning a QR code at a restaurant. The application keeps track of all your transactions and is a viable payment method at more than 30 000 merchants in South Africa. Using SnapScan means no need to carry cash or a wallet.

22Seven is a budgeting app that helps users track expenses effortlessly. One can connect the app to your accounts and cards to avoid manually entering each item of expenditure. The application creates a budget for you, with advice on how to stick to it, and it activates spending alerts when you’re close to reaching your budget.

Weekend Argus

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