January 6, 2022
As demanding as the past year has been, Qolo continues to demand more of ourselves and the industry, while encouraging our clients to do the same.
It’s this determination and grit that has propelled us to incredible heights in 2021 and foretells an equally exciting 2022.
How did we get here?
A mere twelve months ago, Qolo was reveling in the progress it had made in 2020 - a time of massive global disruption. With key partnerships in Telos Gifting, a convertible note raise of $3.8M and a focus on perfecting engagement with our clients, we shared that we were “just getting started.”
How right we were.
2021 was a lightning-speed year for Qolo.
We placed a high priority on hiring some of the brightest minds in fintech and payments. In addition to welcoming our CFO, Peter Bardwick, we brought on numerous senior hires in Finance, Engineering, Strategic Business Development, Marketing, Program Management, Risk, Fraud and Compliance and more. We’ve quadrupled our employee base in 2021, and will end the year with almost 80 employees. And we expect to continue adding people at this rate in 2022.
Our rapid expansion was driven by overwhelming client interest. We will end the year with about 30 clients signed and we significantly outperformed our expectations of how fast we would grow our client base this year. To put this into perspective, we realized 300% growth in just our second year. Our customer base is highly diversified, with an almost equal number of B2B and B2C clients as well as a strong representation in gift and incentive cards and wallets.
This was no surprise, considering our ongoing success advancing key payment capabilities for the industry. At the beginning of the year, we announced an industry first with our embedded processing capability and platform licensing - all powered through 100% native cloud infrastructure. Later in the year, our Qolo Accelerator launched in beta, helping fintechs fast track and maintain control over their payments programs. We remain the only processor that can supply our customers with all payment modalities on one core and with one integrated ledger.
Not surprisingly given our success in attracting new customers and proving the Qolo value proposition we found strong investor interest which culminated in a $15M Series A in August, led by The Raptor Group with additional participation from other professional investors and strategic partners. The current fintech climate is driving massive growth, and Qolo’s 100% cloud-native, omnichannel offering is perfectly positioned to meet the demand. Excitingly, we have yet to see a payments model we can’t power.
So, what’s next?
As Darren Beyer, our Chief Product and Strategy Officer, shares - we predict the following in 2022:
- The popularity of EWA schemes will only continue to surge. Flexible wage access has become an increasingly important differentiator for employers that are competing to recruit, and retain good talent. Innovative EWA providers are responding to this increased demand by building a comprehensive suite of offerings beyond the typical on-demand pay model - including debit cards and money transfer features - which will see them carve out a much deeper relationship with their customers.
- We're entering the age of Credit Transformation. Just like the neobanking sector went through a disruptive change with Chime approaching 10 years ago, now is the age of credit transformation
- BNPL competition remains fierce. As retailers compete to secure online customers, BNPL will become a crucial tool to enable successful cart conversions and an overall seamless digital experience. The major driver behind BNPL’s recent success - the rise of eCommerce and changing consumer behaviors - will undoubtedly continue to pick up pace next year.
- Neobanks must adapt. The fresh take here is the willingness of these new neobanking players to use credit products at the forefront of their offerings - as a loss leader - with the strategic intent to secure profitability over the lifetime of a customer, once they are entrenched into their end-to-end banking services.
In the year ahead, let’s continue to demand more of the industry together.