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GSD Labs' Company Q-Hop identified as a Unicorn



Q-Hop, a successful, leading-edge tech start-up, has been selected to join Cohort 5 of GSD Venture Studios. GSD Venture Studios is a leading global tech accelerator that focuses on identifying global technology companies with the potential to compete in global markets.


“GSD Venture Studios travels the world looking for companies with the potential to become the next tech giant or unicorn, so it’s an incredible privilege to have been selected as one of only 10 companies globally to participate in their fifth cohort,” says Ajay Lalu, co-founder of Q-Hop.


“When our Q-Hop solution was placed in the top 2 of the recent Africa Cup awards at the South African Innovation Summit, we realised that we needed to gain visibility in international markets to progress to the next level. We were selected for several accelerator programmes, but we chose to go with GSD Venture Studios because their focus on taking companies global aligned so well with our goals.”


“I’ve worked in tech for over thirty years, been a part of two unicorns and it is clear that Q-Hop will grow exponentially and change retail not only in Africa but around the world,” says Gary Fowler, CEO, President and Co-founder of GSD Venture Studios.


Q-Hop's technology was developed locally to reimagine the future of retail with data. Q-Hop is a contactless checkout solution using a scan-as-you-shop mobile application that scans barcodes and facilitates automatic payment using a variety of digital payment platforms, including PayPal, Zapper, SnapScan, Masterpass and cryptocurrencies, such as BitCoin.


At the back end, Q-Hop collects and analyses customer data in real-time to enable smarter, on-the-fly decision-making aimed at maximising profits through personalised promotions and continuously improving the customer experience.


“We were hugely impressed by Q-Hop because unlike so many other start-ups, it taps into multiple technology trends at once—Big Data, artificial intelligence, digital payments, digital marketing, and Internet of Things. This gives it enormous potential in the global marketplace,” says Derek Distenfield, Co-founder of GSD Venture Studios.


“In fact, I was so impressed with Q-Hop and its potential as a unicorn that I decided to visit South Africa in search of more possible future unicorns.”


GSD Venture Studios was founded by Silicon Valley stalwarts Gary Fowler and Derek Distenfield. Mr. Fowler has a successful track record as an entrepreneur and was recently named one of the “Top 10 Most Influential AI Executives” by Analytics Insight and one of the “Top Transformational Business Leaders of 2019” by IndustryWired Magazine. He is also a contributing writer for Forbes.


Mr. Distenfield’s 15-year career in the start-up world has been similarly successful, including launching Cult Following, a growth marketing and brand-building agency, and acting as COO for 360 Payments, a $2-billion fintech. He is also a member of the Forbes Business Council.


As part of Cohort 5, CIRT will participate in a customised 15-week intensive programme aimed at optimising its organisational structure and strategic direction, introducing it to US venture capital markets and then preparing it to enter global markets.


Originally published in Techfinancials