Tête-à-tête; Client 'Tell'| Zakariya Yahiya, Founder NowPLAY - Innovify

Tête-à-tête; Client ‘Tell’| Zakariya Yahiya, Founder NowPLAY

February 22, 2016

Tête-à-tête; Client ‘Tell’| Zakariya Yahiya, Founder NowPLAY

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Innovify joined Zakariya, Founder of NowPLAY  as technology partner to bring about an easy solution to organise friendly games effortlessly. NowPlay is a mobile app that helps you find, book and pay for a slot at a sporting venue with just a few clicks.

Launched recently for iPhone, NowPlay has already tied up with a number of sports venues and quickly acquiring early users. Innovify helped create seamless functionalities that enable users to manage all their games in one place, invite friends and repeat playoffs with minimal effort.

Read further for the free-flowing interview of Zakariya Yahiya as he opens up about his thought behind NowPLAY & his experience of working with Innovify.

“The headline here is that overall Innovify, through their service, delivery and quality, have justified their price. The flexibility and appreciation of my desire for perfection they have shown reflects well on them. Having bases in both India and the UK, they almost always have someone available to answer questions and solve problems. They have also provided additional benefits and introductions that have been very useful.”
-Zakariya Yahiya

  • Hi Zak, I see that you have studied Economics and worked in a different industry before you launched NowPlay. Tell us about your professional journey before NowPlay.

Hi Saumya. Sure. When I graduated I took some time out to travel and try out different things. The first of those was working for a popular gym chain, Fitness First, where I was actively helping people to join the gym – not an easy job! After that I decided to pursue an accounting qualification and gain some business experience at PwC. I moved into consulting within the same company almost two years ago now and have had some fantastic experiences throughout my time there. I’ve worked across a range of different industries and type of project and have learned a lot about both business and myself, meeting a lot of great, talented people along the way.

  • What lead you to the idea of NowPlay?

I am a keen sports player – whenever there is an opportunity to play, I find it hard to say no. Through playing sport I’ve witnessed first-hand the struggles involved in trying to organise large groups of people to play matches and also to find and book venues and take payment. The process was unnecessarily complex and the solution to me was obvious. That’s how NowPlay was born.

  • What was the biggest obstacle once you had decided upon going ahead with the idea?

For me, the most difficult thing was to find the time to give NowPlay the attention it deserves. Having funded the venture myself, I needed to dedicate as much time to it as possible while maintaining my existing full time job. This presented a challenge as I was often working around the clock and on weekends already.

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  • What challenges did you face when choosing a technology partner?

The decision around finding the right team to help create NowPlay had multiple considerations at play. We needed a developer with the right skillset – they had to be able to cope technically with the type of product we wanted to build while also understanding the concept and its ambitions. It was important to have a technology partner that appreciated the business side of NowPlay too. I feel that isolating the business from the technology side doesn’t make a whole lot of sense considering that the two go so closely together for a business like ours, which didn’t always seem to be the case for developers we spoke to. Finally, cost was a key factor as you would expect, so we needed someone with both flexibility and who presented a justified and reasonable price.

  • What was the reason you chose Innovify?

There were a few reasons I opted for Innovify. It helped to have met the team who were actually based nearby. This was not only important for convenience and communication with the developers, but also it was important that I trusted the team and we got along! The fact that they were startup focused was a benefit as it meant that we would have access to an environment and network where I felt NowPlay could thrive. Also, the fact they were able to work with me to help identify what features should be prioritised for the MVP was also crucial as it showed they really got what I was trying to achieve.

  • Tell me about your experience of working with Innovify

Like any relationship between developer and client there have been some frustrations and minor hiccups along the way. We have had disagreements and conflicting opinions but these have all been managed well and a compromise has always been reached.

Overall, the Innovify team has been very responsive and flexible to NowPlay’s needs and I have grown to trust them more and more with the product. My interactions with the team have largely been positive, and the team were able to challenge me on multiple occasions as I hoped they would.

  • How would you quantify the service, delivery & quality to the price?

The headline here is that overall Innovify, through their service, delivery and quality, have justified their price. The flexibility and appreciation of my desire for perfection they have shown reflects well on them. Having bases in both India and the UK, they almost always have someone available to answer questions and solve problems. They have also provided additional benefits and introductions that have been very useful.

  • Could you tell me a word or phrase that you would best describe your relationship with us? Also, why?

I have used this word a couple of times already in this interview, and I think it fits well here too. Flexibility. Every member of the team has demonstrated an ability to adapt to different challenges and have changed their approach when needed. There was a constant re-shifting of priorities and the team adjusted well to this. Innovify have catered to NowPlay’s changing needs and they have generally understood and considered the challenges a startup like ours faces.

  • How was working with Innovify beneficial?

Aside from developing a quality MVP, Innovify have introduced me to various contacts that have directly helped our company. They introduced me to the designer that worked on our website, which is a source of pride for NowPlay. Innovify have also given us great exposure by having us present at one of their regular talks. Through this we have also gained some important contacts.

  • If someone called and asked “Why should I do business with Innovify?”, what would you say?

Innovify will be a trustworthy and creative partner you on your road to success. They will suggest ideas, they will help you focus on and improve your business, they can manage all your technology needs and they are generally very good to work with on a day to day basis.

  • Any improvement points you would like Innovify to address?

Throughout the process, the Innovify development team have asked for feedback and improved on any points I have raised. This constant attitude to improving should be praised. The only area where I will say Innovify can better themselves is by being able to second guess what my view will be. If there is a decision to be made and a compromise to be reached, it would benefit Innovify to consider my perspective and propose a solution based on this. For the majority of instances they have done this pretty well, so overall, the feedback to Innovify is very positive. It’s been great working with Innovify and I look forward to continuing our relationship and achieving success together.

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Sport means something different to everyone. For Zak it’s pushing himself, connecting with friends, and most importantly enjoying it. His sports of choice are football, tennis and running.

Prior to NowPlay, Zak was playing key roles on international projects for some of the world’s largest companies, personally responsible for billions of dollars worth of assets. He hopes to continue delivering exceptional customer experience through his passion for sports and technology at NowPLAY

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