Czech restaurant payment app Choice QR has raised €1.5m in a seed round led by Czech VC Presto Ventures with participation from Seedcamp, the prominent early-stage UK VC firm. It says it wants to take on Sunday — the French restaurant payment company that’s raised more than $100m — especially now that its competitor has been forced to pull out of some markets and lay off staff.
“We can compete with them on the same level while spending 10 times less money,” says Alex Ilyash, Choice QR’s founder and CEO. “We are an eastern European startup and have much less cost on sales and amazing developers who work hard. We are humble and hungry… while Sunday is hype and spends too much money.”
What does Choice QR do?
Choice QR was launched in 2021 and offers a platform connecting hospitality businesses with their customers. Restaurants can register in the startup’s system and create an online menu for free, for example, and then the company reaches out to offer them a paid subscription to additional services.
The company’s idea is to become a one-stop-shop for the communication between restaurants and their guests, through QR payments, web pages, table reservations, table ordering and websites for takeaway and delivery.
The company operates in the Czech Republic and Poland and has clients all over the world, including in the US, Hungary and Germany. It currently employs 40 people and is still hiring.
What’s the market like?
QR codes have been used for years in Asia to present menus and collect payments, but in Western countries it took the pandemic to spark a QR boom. Over the last couple of years, several new European startups have started to offer similar services: France’s Sunday, The Netherlands' Orderli and Ireland’s Flipdish.
Who's investing in Choice QR?
- Presto Ventures (Czech Republic; lead investor)
- Seedcamp (UK)
- Reflex Capital (Czech Republic)
- J&T Ventures (Czech Republic)
- Purple Ventures (Czech Republic)
Choice QR plans to use the funding for European expansion, including into the markets that Sunday has announced it will leave: Spain, Italy and Portugal. It plans to connect 50k restaurants to its app within the next three years.
Even though the worst part of the pandemic and the sanitary restrictions are (hopefully) behind us, restaurants might not want to give up too easily on the simplicity and comfort of QR codes. The question is which of the startups offering seemingly the same service will win customer hearts.
Sunday’s loss though, might be Choice QR’s gain: the Czech company has succeeded in connecting 7,500 restaurants on an investment of €1m, while Sunday connected only 4,000 restaurants on an investment of $125m over the same period. It also plans to offer a much wider variety of services to its customers, which might make it more indispensable.