In 2019, Qashier, a fintech startup, emerged with a keen eye on the challenges faced by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in adopting digital payment systems. Now, four years later, the company’s trajectory has caught the attention of investors, culminating in a significant $10 million Series A funding. This infusion of capital serves as a powerful catalyst for Qashier’s ambitious expansion plans, spanning across Southeast Asia and global markets.

In this interview, we speak with Christopher Choo, the CEO and Co-founder of Qashier, to unearth the captivating journey that thrust this fintech disruptor into the spotlight. Christopher graciously shares the inception story, shedding light on the pivotal moment that sparked the vision for an affordable, user-friendly solution.

Congratulations on securing $10 million in Series A funding! Can you tell us more about how this investment will be utilized to fuel Qashier’s growth and expansion plans in Southeast Asia and international markets?

Thank you! This latest round of funding comes at a time of unprecedented growth in the fintech sector and underscores the importance of accessible, user-friendly tools for businesses of all sizes. Qashier continues to grow and currently has four offices across Southeast Asia: Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Singapore. We will continue to invest in product development to deliver more innovative digital solutions to restaurants and retailers across the region and beyond.

Can you share the story of how Qashier got started in 2019? What inspired you to create a fintech startup focused on point-of-sale and payment solutions?

I started Qashier back in 2019 with co-founder, Franklin Zhao Liang. I was doing some last-minute Christmas shopping in 2018 and visited my aunt’s shop in the Ang Mo Kio area. My aunt was serving a customer who purchased a few handbags, and I noticed her manually recording the sale transaction with a pen on paper. Then I realized that cash was also the only payment mode available. I was curious about why she wasn’t accepting cashless forms of payment, and my aunt said that point-of-sale systems are expensive – easily upwards of $10,000 – and she could not afford it. But even if she could, she was concerned it would be too complex for her to use. The idea of coming up with an affordable, easy-to-use solution to help digitalise SMEs started from there.

Franklin Zhao and Christopher Choo, co-founders of Qashier

In late 2018, I also reconnected with Franklin at the Antler incubator program. Through the program, we discovered that we had complementary skill sets. With his background in computer science and experience from founding a previous startup in the retail advertising space, and my background in business and finance, we thought we’d make a great team. Especially since we’re both passionate about how technology can help the growth and success of SMEs.

With the founding team established, we went door to door, speaking directly to owners of restaurants and retail stores to understand their pain points. It was through these personal and deep conversations with merchants that helped us design our product from the ground up, and in turn, create a solution that could genuinely solve the actual operational pain points of SMEs. With Frank’s technical expertise, we hacked the first iteration of our product, and started to roll that out to our first customers.

You mentioned a commitment to providing tech-forward solutions. Can you elaborate on the technological innovations that set Qashier apart in the fintech industry, especially with the introduction of the Qashier X2 and QashierXS?

Qashier is an all-in-one super-app for restaurants and retailers that provides merchants with easy access to 30+ integrated software tools and payment types through a single platform. Our software modules are catered specifically to the F&B, retail, and beauty industries, and our payment acceptance solution covers all major cashless payment types, from cards to mobile payments and e-wallets. Through Qashier, merchants get a true all-in-one solution that helps digitalise their business from end to end.

The recent launch of our flagship product, QashierX2, and its lighter, more compact sibling, QashierXS, also marks the beginning of a true all-in-one POS and payment device. We have designed both QashierX2 and QashierXS to be the only devices a restaurant or retail store needs on their cashier counters!

The Qashier app received an overwhelming response, with over 12,000 downloads in just three days of its public beta launch. What do you think contributed to this rapid adoption, and what unique features does it offer to SMEs?

The Qashier app is a reflection of Qashier’s software and payment solutions on your mobile device. The app remains largely similar to our flagship Qashier terminals, foregoing the additional hardware cost. It has a comprehensive set of features needed to get a business off the ground and running quickly, but it can serve businesses at varying stages of their growth.

The app comes with a free Lite plan that offers basic features for businesses that only require sales recording and QR payment acceptance features. For those who require more advanced solutions, there’s an optional paid subscription plan.

Qashier’s app is great for owner-operated businesses or pop-ups looking to kickstart their business. They ca dip their toes into having an integrated POS with powerful contactless payment features, all without having to invest in additional hardware. Our solution scales in tandem with the merchants’ businesses, and merchants have the flexibility to upgrade to our full-fledged solutions at any point.

Qashier has processed over $1 billion worth of transactions since its inception. How do you ensure the security and reliability of your payment solutions, especially as you expand into more markets?

In all our operating markets, security is one of our core product principles and we go the extra mile in making sure we keep merchant data safe and secure, both from an infrastructure and process perspective. Qashier is PCI DSS Level 1 compliant, which means our payment processing systems follow the industry’s most stringent protocols and standards. As we continue to expand into more markets, security is of the utmost importance and we always ensure that we meet data privacy measures.

You mentioned Qashier’s potential to become a leading multi-product provider for SMEs in APAC. Could you explain how Qashier plans to diversify its product offerings to achieve this goal?

Qashier’s mission is to champion the growth and success of SMEs, to and help them thrive in today’s digital economy. We will continue to explore new ways to help businesses streamline their business operations affordably. We see a huge growth opportunity in strengthening our ecosystem of third-party apps and offerings.

Qashier’s presence in the event management sector is noteworthy. Can you share specific examples of how your solutions have been tailored for events like SneakerCon, Gastrobeats, and BLACKPINK concerts?

Qashier’s foray into the events sector started in 2022, when we partnered with Gastrobeats just as Singapore emerged from the pandemic lockdown. The pandemic normalised digital and contactless payments, which created a strong demand from event organisers regionally. The ability for them to have an aggregated view of the transactions in real-time was also highly beneficial.

Our portable and wireless solutions meant deployment was easy and seamless. Qashier’s native food delivery integrations also came in handy during the 2023 Gastrobeats event, where we partnered with the event’s official food delivery provider to enable online ordering, effectively reducing the need for event-goers to wait in long queues. F&B vendors only needed QashierXS to manage all their operations and transactions!

With offices in Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Singapore, how does Qashier plan to adapt and cater to the unique needs of each market while maintaining a consistent brand and product experience?

Each market is different and we adapt to the local nuances to ensure strong product-market fit, including interface language, local taxation laws, and local payment methods. While we adapt our product locally in each market, we remain hyper-focused on serving the SME segment in three specific verticals – F&B, retail and beauty – which enables us to remain highly consistent in our overall brand and product experience.

Looking ahead, what are Qashier’s key priorities and goals for the future? Are there any upcoming product launches or market expansions that you can share with our audience?

With the close of our Series A funding, we’ll continue to accelerate our growth in our four Southeast Asia focus markets – Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Singapore – and expand into new international markets, as well as strengthen our product ecosystem.

Finally, how do you envision Qashier contributing to the growth and success of small and medium-sized businesses in the digital economy, both in Southeast Asia and beyond?

We envision our platform to play a central role in helping SMEs adapt and succeed in today’s digital economy by providing them with tools that are simple, affordable, and robust. With the right use of technology, we believe we are in a unique position to help level the playing field between SMEs and large enterprises.

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