What happened to QPay?

QPay is a university payment platform for students, societies, and unions that aims to enhance the campus experience.

The platform was created in 2015 by Andrew Clapham and Zaki Bouguettaya, who met while studying at Australian National University (ANU).

Clapham and Bouguettaya are best known for their appearance on Shark Tank Australia in 2018, asking for a sum of $380,000 from investors.

They were ultimately successful and, in the process, became the highest earning business on the Australian version of the series.

The story of how the platform evolved after that is told below.

Shark Tank Australia

When Clapham and Bouguettaya pitched QPay to Shark Tank investors, they had already received $620,000 in venture funding and wanted another $380,000 (or around 8.4% of the company).

At the time, QPay had around 150,000 students on its books in Australia, and the cofounders wanted to expand into overseas markets such as the UK, US, and Canada.

Sharks by the name of Steve Baxter and Naomi Simson were ultimately won over by the pitch, with each contributing 50% of the capital and taking a 4.2% stake.

The investment in QPay became one of the largest to occur on the show and raised the company’s profile. 

Clapham resignation and expansion

Clapham stepped down from his role and resigned soon after for undisclosed reasons.

He was replaced by former Deloitte Australia member Muhammad Satti who joined Bouguettaya at the helm.

Throughout 2019 and 2020, the injection of capital enabled QPay to expand into New Zealand, with around 20% of all Australian students also using the app.

After revising the app’s offer payments and ticketing features for an international audience, the company entered the British and North American markets soon after.

QPay continued to grow and gain early traction because it focused on the student demographic early on.

This was an especially wise in the UK, where established competitors like Revolut and Wise had already secured much of the fintech market.

Equity crowdfunding and Volt partnership

In July 2021, QPay announced it had secured $1.15 million via an equity crowdfunding campaign with Birchal.

This amount far exceeded the minimum target of $500,000 and, according to AustralianFintech.com.au, would enable the company to “meet a global opportunity in the disrupted university sector.

Around this time, QPay announced that it would enter into a partnership with fellow Aussie fintech company Volt.

The company would be tasked with increasing university students’ financial health and aptitude, while Volt’s neobank would serve those same students once they graduated and entered the workforce.

Further expansion and future plans

QPay was launched in Canada in September 2021 to coincide with the start of the academic year. Expansion into the extremely lucrative US market remains somewhere on the horizon.

The company also has plans to file for an IPO sometime in the next three to five years.

Key takeaways:

  • QPay is a university payment platform for students, societies, and unions that aims to enhance the campus experience. Co-founders Andrew Clapham and Zaki Bouguettaya are best known for their appearance on Shark Tank Australia where they managed to secure $380,000 from two investors.
  • Interest in the company increased after it was featured on TV with the injection of capital funding expansion into New Zealand and across Australia more generally. The platform’s focus on university students has seen it gain early traction in the UK.
  • QPay secured a significant round of funding in 2021 from a crowdfunding campaign. The company has yet to announce its arrival in the US market, but it does plan to hold an IPO in the next few years.

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