‘The app is used on average five times day to order food, groceries and arrange a service such as cleaning’

Super app brings retailers and service providers together in one place

Amin Shaikh is the founder of Instazap, an “one-for-all super app” that connects retailers and service providers in a particular geographical area with local customers in need of everything from a breakfast roll to an electrician.

Shaikh launched Instazap in 2020, and has plans to go urban and global with the idea. However, he is also passionate about making the app work at a micro level in rural areas with a view to preserving the commercial life of communities and helping small operators such as florists, bakeries and pharmacies to stay in business.

Also in Shaikh’s grand plan is a determination to solve some of the challenges of last mile delivery. He believes autonomous pavement delivery is the way to go and this translates as on demand shopping being delivered by sidewalk drones and robots — something that is likely to happen faster than one might imagine.

In fact, the development of an Instazap delivery robot is already under way in collaboration with third level institutions and Shaikh expects to have a protype ready in about 18 months. He is also in talks with drone companies about the logistics of providing the company with a delivery service.

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Shaikh comes from a background in IT and has experience of both the tech start-up world and the multinational environment having spent five years with Intel before setting up Instazap. His Mullingar-based business now has six full time and four part-time staff, and also uses the services of 25 contractors (called Super Zappers) who look after personal shopping requests and deliveries.

There are essentially two sides to the business: the consumer app and the B2B element that offers retailers and service providers of all sorts a selling/booking platform. In particular Shaikh says it has real appeal for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with little or no digital presence and no budget for marketing or lead generation.

Instazap was launched in Sligo and has since been rolled out to Carlow, Mullingar, Athlone and Letterkenny with the rest of the country to follow. The company, which has been revenue generating from the get-go, makes its money by charging businesses a facilitation fee (which Shaikh says is much lower than the widely used commission model) and from providing its commercial customers with add-on services such as an integrated orders and payments system, which allows them to offer cashless same day delivery.

“Instazap is focused on meeting the daily needs of consumers in minutes all within the same app with just a few simple clicks,” Shaikh says. “So far a large percentage of our end users are college students and people with no personal transport aged 18 to 38 living in suburban areas and provincial towns. The app is used on average five times day to order food, get groceries and arrange a service such as cleaning.”

Development costs to date have been in the order of €200,000 between personal investment and support from Local Enterprise Office (LEO) Westmeath. The next financial step for the company is a €2 million fundraising round in 2023.

Shaikh plans to move into the UK market in Q1 next year and the product has also been tested in Pakistan and Indonesia. Franchising is the most likely expansion model for the future. In June this year, Shaikh extended his company’s reach with the acquisition of Otals, a 2021 start-up founded by IT professional Kamil Mahajan that had developed a booking platform for home services.

“By bringing the two businesses together we can revolutionise the future of the quick commerce and on-demand services market. Instant fulfilment isn’t a luxury any more, we can make it happen,” Shaikh says. “Individuals are all trying to save time these days and our aim is to make it as easy as possible for them to fulfil their daily needs thereby leaving them with time to spend doing what matters most to them.”