Q&A: Serge Taborin, CEO, Q App

Read tips on preparing for a funding round from an entrepreneur currently going through the process

Mobile ordering service Q App is currently in the process of raising the next funding round to finance a period of growth.

The business already boasts an impressive list of clients – including the Royal Albert Hall, Liverpool FC and Ministry of Sound. It provides solutions allowing customers to order drinks through mobile devices. Previously, funding has been received through angel funding and the personal finances of its founders.

Growth Business caught up with CEO Serge Taborin to ask him how the plans were going ahead of the latest funding round and ask what the future holds.

What are the most important things to have in place before a funding round?

Different funding rounds require different objectives to have been met. Earlier rounds typically focus on the quality of the team, the idea and its potential and the early prototype of the product/service. ‘Middle’ rounds require progress to have been made towards signing clients, proving the business model and generally demonstrating the business is moving towards its stated vision. Later rounds typically look at profitability and opportunities for further growth or expansion. But, regardless of the funding round, the business must know its key metrics inside out, how they relate to the overall vision and what its competitors are up to.

How have your personal preparations gone?

As a team, we’ve invested a lot of time and effort in understanding how our customers (both users or venues) use our product, which has enabled us to hone our investor pitches and provide strong evidence of rapid progress. In addition, we did a lot of research about the type of investor (and even specific investors) we wanted to engage with to maximise our chances of success. Operationally, we focused heavily on signing up some flagship clients (ie. major venues) to demonstrate the quality of the service at scale and we also entered a couple of major industry awards to get an independent validation of Q App solution. In the end, we were voted as one of UK’s 100 most promising start-ups and we also won the UK’s Best Mobile Payment Service award. Through all this, we’ve been fortunate to have attracted a lot of investor interest – mobile payments and mobile marketing are two of the most exciting segments in digital today and Q App has a strong play in both those camps.  

Do you have any particular goals in terms of what you want to get out of this round?

Clearly, cash is the lifeblood of any business and the main reason for any funding round, but our angels have demonstrated to us the value of having strategic investors on board – people or companies that bring more than just cash to the table. Q App has already benefited from this approach, for example getting in front of the key decision-makers in our target companies through angel introductions and getting general advice on a range of subjects. As a part of this round, we are very much hoping to attract more investors who will help us scale faster, give us the added credibility or add other benefits.

What lessons from your fundraising so far will you be taking into this phase?

We learned the hard way that having a clear idea of the kind of an investor we want to attract can have a huge impact on not only the likelihood of success, but also time spent on raising finance. We are a lot more focused this time around. The other couple of main things would be to get a good idea of the criteria/process/timeliness involved at the outset of any investor conversation and getting a good lawyer to go over the proposed investment terms.

What are your goals beyond the funding round if all goes well?

Our vision is to make queuing the thing of the past in hospitality and entertainment venues, so the immediate future will be all about getting more venues to sign up and more users to use the product. We are also in discussions about international expansion, while Q App as a concept also lends itself brilliantly to data-driven marketing and a suite of premium services, so we’ll be looking into that too.

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