- UAE-headquartered fintech Qlub has raised a $17 million Seed round, co-led by Cherry Ventures and Point Nine, with participation from STV, Raed Ventures, Heartcore, Shorooq Partners, and FinTech Collective as well as a group of angel investors.
- The startup's founding team consists of Arun Sharma, Eyad Alkassar, Filiberto Pava, Gizem Bodur, Mahmoud Fouz, John Mady, Jeff Matsuda, Oscar Bedoya and Ramy Omar.
- Qlub enables customers to instantly pay their bills in restaurants within 10-seconds by scanning a QR code with their phone. The startup also offers a "Eat Now Pay Later" solution where customers can split the bill with their friends and pay the bill with Apple Pay, Credit Card or installments.
- The funding will go towards product development and talent acquisition.
Qlub, a startup developing an ultra-fast payment solution for consumers in restaurants, has raised $17 million in seed financing. The investment is 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.
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 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.
On another level, 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 experiences 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.”
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. Weare 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.”
The founding team members of Qlub are Arun Sharma, Eyad Alkassar, Filiberto Pava, Gizem Bodur, Mahmoud Fouz, John Mady, Jeff Matsuda, 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 food tech 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.
Ricardo Sequerra Amram, the partner at Point Nine, says “We’re thrilled to back the founders of the club 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.”
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 16minutes per table and can be fully onboarded in under 24 hours from initial touchpoints withQlub.
“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,” says Faisal Kawar, Principal at FinTech Collective.
“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.”
The funding will primarily go towards product development and hiring across tech and product teams.