A UAE-based FinTech with a global focus, Qlub raises an exceptional $17M SEED round to provide the dine-in instant-payment solution of the future.
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UAE-headquartered FinTech and restaurant instant payment solution provider Qlub has successfully raised $17M in its latest funding round. The SEED round was co-led by Cherry Ventures and Point Nine with participation from other global VCs including STV, Raed Ventures, Heartcore, Shorooq Partners, and FinTech Collective as well as numerous strategic angels, including C-level executives of major players in the digital food industry such as Delivery Hero.
Founded in 2021, Qlub enables customers to instantly pay their bills in restaurants within 10-seconds by simply scanning a QR code with their phone – even without an app or any registration. Customers can easily split the bill with their friends and pay the bill with Apple Pay, Credit Card, or in installments (“Eat Now Pay Later”). The benefit for restaurants is multifold, including higher turnover of their tables, higher tips for their waiters, and happier and returning customers. Ratings of restaurants on Google improve significantly.
30% of all transactions closed across EVMs in 2021 were by FinTech startups proving to be the rising sector both in MENAP and globally. As recorded in our Startup Funding- 2022 Emerging Venture Markets Free Report, available for download, the sector observed 550% YoY growth in VC funding 5 Mega Deals out of the 6 in Africa closed by FinTech startups including payment solutions prover Wave Mobile Money, neo banking startup TymeBank, and digital infrastructure provider Flutterwave. In MENA, the UAE was a hub for FinTech innovations in Open Banking, Digital Payment, and Blockchain solutions as recorded in our 2022 UAE Venture Investment Report. Championing the industry with major rounds closed in 2021 were Payment solutions provider Tabby, Cryptocurrency exchange platform BitOasis, Open-Finance platform FinTech Galaxy, and hybrid investment platform Sarwa.
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Qlub’s digital and contactless payment solution also helps restaurants and customers adapt to widespread situational preferences amplified by the global pandemic. Qlub cuts down on customer-to-employee and customer-to-customer interactions by eliminating physical transactions associated with passing menus and bills back-and-forth. “Having built multiple food delivery startups, I was baffled by how little the dine-in experience has improved by technology within the last two decades,” says co-founder Eyad Alkassar. “Since the advent of credit cards, little to nothing has changed. The choreography around waiting for the bill is so avoidable and a waste of time for both customers and restaurants.” Eyad continues, “By combining two mega-trends driven by the pandemic — QRs in restaurants and cashless payments — we are creating the payment function of the future. Our ambition is to establish Qlub as the new global standard and save restaurants and customers time and costs.”
The founding team members of Qlub are Arun Sharma, Eyad Alkassar, Filiberto Pavan, Gizem Bodur, Jeff Matsuda, Jianggan Li, John Mady, Mahmoud Fouz, Oscar Bedoya, and Ramy Omar. They’ve previously founded and scaled companies like Lazada, Namshi, and Snapp. The growing Qlub team already comprises senior veterans from globally leading FoodTech companies and top universities around the world. Together, they bring industry knowledge and technical know-how and are all motivated to solve a decades-old problem with technology-minded, future-proof solutions, the founders say. In light of this platform scaling investment, Filip Dames, founding partner at Cherry Ventures, says, “Adapting to a self-checkout solution is a no-brainer for restaurants as offline payments remain a barrier to turnover. We are proud to support Qlub in its ambition to revolutionize the payment space for both restaurants and diners. The founders have put together a remarkable team and we are excited to take the first step in this journey with them.”
Qlub has already launched in UAE, KSA, and India with additional international markets, set to follow in the weeks and months ahead. With Qlub, restaurants are already saving 16 minutes per table and can be fully onboarded in under 24 hours from initial touchpoints with Qlub. Ricardo Sequerra Amram, partner at Point Nine highlighted, “We’re thrilled to back the founders of Qlub who are experienced operators in the food space. Qlub is building a win-win offering for consumers who want the freedom of cashless payments and the convenience of self-checkout as well as restaurant owners who, in a post-pandemic world, are even more mindful of compressing their fixed costs and allocating staff to revenue-generating activities.”
The UAE-based FinTech with global aspirations will channel its newly acquired funds towards product development and hiring across tech and product teams. While arising from present behavioral changes in customer interaction, Qlub is solving for the future as Faisal Kawar, Principal at FinTech Collective elaborated, “Globally, 1 in 3 consumers have begun using digital payments for the first time within the last year, while more than half (52%) said they transitioned all or most of their in-store spending to online.” In his statement, Kawar concluded, “The Qlub team have built, scaled, and sold successful businesses across the world, and are well-positioned to go after and grow the $5 trillion restaurants and hospitality industry worldwide.”
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