A fintech startup that allows businesses to instantly receive and send payments internationally in an instant is eyeing the Tampa Bay market for its new HQ.
CashQ is an embedded cross-border payment platform founded by Alex Voronovich and Arina Anapolskaya. The business-to-business payment platform works by enabling instant international payments only with card credentials or phone numbers. It is connected to institutions, unions and major card companies.
”Sending money internationally today is slow, you need a middleman and there’s so much complexity. The market is fragmented,” Anapolskaya said. Once, she explained, she tried to transfer money to Jamaica to pay contractors, only to find the funds were on hold.
“We came up with a product that’s simple. You don’t have to download an app or go through complex interfaces. If you are a financial institution, through us, you get to add buttons into your software program and by pulling information from your existing customer, the end user can receive funds within seconds,” she said.
Anapolskaya explained that while the company was founded in Miami, and founders were eager to be part of Miami’s booming tech scene, they relocated to Cocoa Beach during the height of the pandemic.
“The energy in Miami was insane, but when everything closed (due to the pandemic), people were upset and were outside without masks during the lockdown to retaliate. We decided to go into a smaller downtown to isolate ourselves and focus on finishing our product, and now we are planning to move our team to Tampa or St. Pete,” she said, describing the high quality of life in St. Pete and the corporate culture in Tampa.
Anapolskaya, who is from Ukraine, said some of their team members are currently living in Turkey and CashQ is slowly bringing them into the U.S., including their Chief Technology Officer.
CashQ also hired a compliance specialist and has a team of five contractors they have formed a close relationship with, which work with the CTO. In St. Pete or Tampa, CashQ will likely operate in a co-working space.
Since launching, CashQ has built a fully operated and licensed money transmitter with payout coverage in over 200 countries while integrating into financial institutions, neobanks, and card networks like Visa, UnionPay, and mobile money providers and electronic wallets, according to the company. The CashQ co-founders say they are solving the problem of inefficiency in the $156 trillion cross-border payment market, replacing traditional wire technology.
CashQ was one of 16 startups that graduated from the Tampa Bay Wave and the University of South Florida’s inaugural Fintech|X Accelerator program. Anapolskaya said through the accelerator, the founders became acquainted with three different venture capital firms and two of them are planning to invest in CashQ as angel investors.
“This accelerator specifically brought in fintech investors and that helped us craft our product even more on demo day,” Anapolskaya said, comparing how the investors in the space already have instilled knowledge of working with fintech firms.
Anapolskaya said CashQ is hoping to close its pre-seed funding round by September.