Social distancing measures required over 1.5 million venues across Europe to temporarily close doors, forcing these businesses to face unprecedented business uncertainty and lay off many of their 8 million employees.
Even as the F&B industry pivots to food delivery and national governments put in place SME support packages, there is a real risk that some venues will not weather the storm. Sale of liquor, for example, is not suitable for a delivery service, which hurts bars and clubs.
Many of the jobs in the sector were considered secure before the lockdown, as cafes, bars, clubs and restaurants used to generate enough revenue to operate their businesses by delivering good customer experience. Unfortunately, they are currently unable to provide that experience but still require cash inflows to keep afloat, pay salaries and to be able to re-open.
QPON is here to address this problem and enable communities to support the great venues that we all love, so they can survive and continue to thrive once the crisis is over. QPON provides an alternative solution to the hospitality industry, which proves to be one of the most affected by the crisis.
Who will be the one helping you through tough times if not your biggest fans?
QPON is a gamified crowdfunding platform enabling loyal clients to purchase discounted vouchers for future use from their favourite venues.
- Simple and secure funding made available monthly to venues, even while the lockdowns last.
- Onboarding is just a few clicks away for both the business and the customer.
- Speed of delivery: conventional methods of funding can often take long, and time is of the essence here.
- Win-win scenario: both parties benefit from the transaction; it’s a discounted voucher, not a donation.
- Crowdfunding can come from anyone/anywhere, thus we deliver untapped resources to businesses that need them now and unlock a value channel under-used so far.
- Customers of any hospitality venue work in various sectors and on average will be less affected by the crisis. Even though banks are encouraged to lend by public programmes, our solution provides additional funding rails. Both parties benefit financially and emotionally, and the economy is better off. We enable economic value transfer to continue in these difficult times.
- QPON is leveraging the outreach of each onboarded venue by requiring it to post about their QPON profile on all of their social media accounts. Each new client can provide a list of favourite venues, which are in turn notified and thus enticed to join. This process creates a loop enabling exponential growth.
- Crowdfunding via QPON is gamified with client leaderboards for each venue and platform-wide competitions for top “Foodies”, “Baristas”, “Social Butterflies” and other consumer profiles. Gamification further enhances customer engagement on the platform and entices loyal clients to contribute more.
What we have done
We are well on our way to go live!
- Market research: Data-driven approach to European market sizing and customer interviews with over 200 clients and 25 venues.
- Designed an effective strategy to bootstrap the project [pilot/MVP/POC] with select number of venues in Sofia, Bulgaria.
- Outlined a detailed plan for pan-European roll-out through a mix of direct and indirect go-to-market channels.
- Back-end dev: successfully integrated with our payments solution provider (MangoPay S.A.) and completed a voucher purchase in a sandbox environment. AWS dev environment is up and running with Load Balancer + EC2 + RDS.
- Front-end dev: designed the entire flow and nearly all app screens; check these out in our InVision prototype.
- Mobile dev: Android and iOS apps are being finalized and tested, expected launch within days.
- Web dev: launched a landing page allowing venues and clients to pre-register, which will enable us to launch the platform with already active users on it.
- Established a KYC process for venues across Europe and secured the translation services of the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
- Financial analysis and business plan modelling (thorough bottom-up approach) including a detailed budget on quarterly basis for the first year of operation and a business plan extended to cover the next 3 years.
QPON’s impact to the crisis
We anticipate to onboard around 2,000 venues and sell over 100,000 vouchers, generating revenue to help save more than 10,000 jobs in Q2 alone.
- Most hospitality businesses are currently facing severe liquidity issues despite governments’ efforts to reboot the economy with stimulus packages. QPON helps front-load consumer spending that can be put to good use re-energizing the global economic machine. It is a spare capacity utilization and optimization tool, which creates new financial, sales and engagement routes for SMEs to keep doing business, survive and thrive.
- QPON will help mitigate the current macro shock and make the economic cycle smoother. SMEs that would otherwise go out of business for good, can now use the QPON platform to pre-sell their services at a discount. This is a win-win scenario for them, their customers, governments, and the global economy. There will be tangible net positive effects on GDP, consumption, and jobs, not to mention social spirit boost achieved through the fulfillment that comes with saving a favourite business.
- While some venues might offer such vouchers on their own, QPON makes it cheaper for every SME to do so, delivering utility at a lower cost. It also empowers venues that may not otherwise take such initiative by themselves. QPON pools loyal customers with purchasing power in one place, which no single venue can do on its own.
The necessities in order to continue the project
Our current team will be able to launch the QPON platform in our home market (Sofia, Bulgaria) within days.
Bringing the project to a pan-European level would require:
- Support by EU-wide and member-level industry organizations to raise awareness among businesses and scale the platform fast;
- Extensive media coverage to achieve network effects on the platform;
- Additional team members to help with customer support, KYC and onboarding.
The value of QPON after the crisis
QPON will evolve into an interactive loyalty program for hospitality venues and broader SMEs.
- QPON builds stronger bonds between SMEs and their loyal customers fostered during a time of crisis.
- It is a scalable platform which can function as alternative sales, marketing/customer engagement, and funding channel for SMEs.
- The core platform is industry and location agnostic and can eventually be used across all sectors and by any small or large company.
- Product ranges and features can be easily expanded to include any good or service, as well as multiple primary and secondary marketplaces.
- The QPON team has a big vision, but realizing the critical importance of our mission now, we prefer to start small and get it right the first time! Then we can grow in scale and scope, step by step with the recovering global economy, knowing that we have done our part right in crunch time!
- Teamwork is a core value for our project. The QPON platform enables teamwork among SMEs and their loyal customers. Our team of clutch players delivering this solution now, hopes that it can add more than pure economic value, but also foster stronger cooperation and team spirit in general culture and the public overall.
Thank you for getting through the pitch! Scroll down to check out our InVision prototype, the GitHub repo and make sure you sign up for early access to the QPON platform on our landing page! We have also included information on the market size, the QPON financials and impact, coming right after the video demo.
We are very grateful to everyone who made the EUvsVirus hackathon possible! Thank you for building this amazing community and enabling over 20,000 people to fight the crisis together! Hats down!
The QPON Team