#ZimStartups: Young HIT Dropout Adds More Features to Automated Vending Machine


All innovators are driven by necessity which is the mother of invention. After failing to locate an airtime vendor inside the high rise building called Joina City as they are not allowed there, George Chingore rushed out of the mall where there will be a sea of airtime vendors scattered outside the building to buy airtime.

The Joina City scenario for Chingore came to him as a loophole that had to be filled leading to the birth of Protonix.

By Marvelous Chibagidi

Pitching up his invention at the Zimbabwe ICT Innovation Fund Harare Pitch Night in September, the young man from capital narrated how his aging father would send either him or his little brother to buy airtime.

Further with his father’s failing eyesight he would be asked to punch in the scratchcard numbers as they have small font.

The young dropped out of the Harare Institute of Technology due to funding challenges. Seeing these airtime scratchcard flaws Chingore then figured out that the problems would be solved by an automated airtime vending machine.
The machine still in prototype stage makes life very much easier as one does not have to get their finger nails dirty from scratching the cards and the struggle of trying to figure out the little numbers on the card. More so, as this machine is supposed to be housed in shopping malls so that people wont have to go out looking for airtime vendors.

The automated airtime vending machine has a part where one inserts the bank note. One has to punch in the phone number and then click recharge and within seconds an airtime recharge SMS notification is received.
Chingore said the machine will not only be limited to airtime vending but will also sell prepaid electricity tokens.
He added another interesting feature which is 3D navigation for users to roam around the premise where his machine is found. The Protonix founder said one gas to click the Navigate Premise tab to tour the building with ease. The 3D navigation system rotates and show you exactly where you want to go.

So imagine having 50 machines like this scattered all over town,it is like having employees selling electricity and airtime on your behalf while you are at home rest assured that business is going on well.
Chingore called out on all telecommunication companies in Zimbabwe to consider his innovation as it will mutually benefit both parties (Chingore and Telcos). He urged corporates to support budding innovators for the development of the nation.
During the question and answer segment of Chingore’s pitch, people noted how this machine would outdo the airtime vendors. Responding to the query, Chingore said, “The machine would be placed at areas where airtime vendors are prohibited like the Joina City so the machines are meant to ease the hassles of getting outside the mall to get airtime. Airtime vendors can still do their business.’
Talk about disruptive innovation which comes to the market with a bang, young George Chingore’s airtime vending machine could really be an answer to many people in their certain areas of business as they would not have to go out to get airtime but simply have to insert their money in the vending machine and get a recharge processed in seconds.

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