Meet the man giving phone thieves sleepless nights
Having endured a number of setbacks in its seven-year journey, Gadgets & Collectables is starting to make good on its potential.
Founded by Mahalapye native Tebogo Aaron in 2012, the enterprise initially specialised in the sale and repair of electronic gadgets.
However, the aim was always for the business to branch out and become as diversified as possible.
“We didn’t want to focus only on cell phones. We wanted to explore the whole field around electronic gadgets, including consumable electronics like drones and others,” Aaron told Voice Money, adding the idea was to ultimately turn Gadget & Collectables into a one-stop shop for all your electrical needs.
The business model incorporates four units, including: Smart Devices, Repairs and the Smart Home Automation, a system that allows users to monitor their homes through their smart phones.
Inspired by a major blow that threatened to undo all Aaron’s hard work, the fourth unit, Tracking, has become a nationwide sensation.
Spotting the opportunity in his misfortune, the shrewd businessman said, “We have rolled out Tracking massively this year. We chose to focus on the tracking service after we encountered a massive setback when our shop in Main Mall was broken into and was almost swept clean. We had to pop-out a lot of cash reimbursing those whose gadgets were stolen! The incident really prompted me to seriously look into Tracking.”
Aaron further explained it had always been his dream to offer gadget-tracking but he lacked the relevant knowledge and so delayed introducing the service until February this year.
Explaining the process of tracking a smart phone, Aaron says a customer must pay a P100 registration fee and have their International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number – a 15 or 17 digit code that uniquely identifies mobile phone sets – handy.
Aaron then enters the code into his system and lets the technology do the rest.
“The minute whoever has the phone turns it on, the system will notify us and extracts the information about that certain user,” he explained, proudly revealing that their success rate in recovering lost or stolen phones stands at around 95 percent.
To save customers the inconvenience of having to come to the shop in person, for an annual licence fee, Aaron intends to roll out the software to clients so they can install it in their phones.
“We will be rolling it out in January next year. It makes things much easier for you in the sense that once you lose your gadget, you self monitor it and track it down yourself.”
An added advantage of the software is that it allows users whose phones have been lost or stolen to remotely wipe any sensitive information they don’t want anyone else to see.
“We will be rolling it out massively in 2020. This year we have been concentrating on helping people recover the ones that are already stolen; we have been helping clients from all over the country,” continued Aaron, adding that once they identify where the gadget is, they advise the client to go to the police station to complete its recovery.
“The reason why we didn’t want to be involved much in the recovery of phones is that we don’t know the kind of culprits we are dealing with.”
Staying true to his ‘diversifying’ ethos, Aaron says they will start installing tracking devices on other electronic gadgets such as plasma televisions and laptops.
Car tracking is also in the pipeline.
The business has eight staff members and currently operates from Airport Junction Mall in Gaborone and at Acacia Mall in Phakalane.
They plan to open another branch in Palapye soon.