Launch of young entrepreneur’s hospitality booking service arrives right on ‘queue’ for festive period
A 24-year-old entrepreneur from Cardiff is in the process of launching a first-of-its-kind virtual booking service app with the hope of being just in time to support the hospitality sector this festive season.
QZee, an abbreviation of ‘queue easy’, was developed by Cameron Calder, a computer science graduate from Swansea University and Max Sugar, software engineering graduate, also from Swansea University, as a response to the surge in cancellations and no-shows that hit the UK’s hospitality sector during the pandemic, estimated to cost businesses £17.6 billion a year.*
Operating out of Cardiff’s Tramshed, QZee is working collectively with businesses and foodies in Wales to get business back on their feet this Christmas by encouraging successful bookings through efficient last-minute queuing options, unbeaten restaurant offers and smart tracking, ensuring that bookings run smoothly.
QZee is a free, deposit-less booking system that is set to cost as much as 75% less than other major competitors and doesn’t with hidden costs or additional fees. A new take on booking and queuing, QZee encourages last-minute plans by inviting users or groups to join up to multiple virtual queues at any time, allowing users the chance to get in to at least one of their top choices. Extremely beneficial on busy days like match days or around the festive period.
It also monitors users’ locations in the background and can effectively automatically inform and re-organise bookings based on travel times to the venue, meaning QZee will know if you are late and if you won’t turn up in advance and is able to handle that for the business.
With 28 international businesses signed-up to the service already, including Cardiff Dough & Co, QZee’s tech-savvy co-founder Cameron is checked in to change the future of virtual booking experiences when the business launches later this year.
To make his booking business dream a reality, Cameron sought support from Big Ideas Wales, a Welsh Government funded service that, as part of Business Wales, aims to support anyone between the age of 5 and 25 to develop a business idea, including students and graduates, as part of its commitment to the Young Person’s Guarantee.
Cameron first came across the work of Big Ideas Wales during a Business Bootcamp talk at Tramshed, hosted by Big Ideas Wales and featuring Dan Swygart, CEO of Alpacr – a social networking platform for travel enthusiasts. Cameron, in his first year of computer science studies at Swansea University, was inspired by Dan who had managed to raise huge private equity funding at Silicon Valley.
Discussing his journey, Cameron said: “I didn’t have a business idea in mind, but I was so inspired by Dan and the work of Big Ideas Wales that I reached out to the service and was put into contact with Swansea University Enterprise Team, and Big Ideas Wales Business Advisor Miranda Thomas, both of who offered me mounds of materials and advice on the entrepreneurial landscape in Wales. From that moment on I knew I wanted to follow an entrepreneurial path, I just needed to decide on a business venture.
During the remainder of his time at Swansea University, Cameron worked alongside the University’s Enterprise Team and Big ideas Wales Role Model, Ryan Stephens to develop his entrepreneurial skills and presence. During their meetings Cameron and Ryan worked on improving Cameron’s professional presence, discussing various business idea development strategies and exploring new methods of creative thinking.
With the tools to become a leading entrepreneur and a business idea in-hand, Cameron then reached out to Miranda to develop QZee further. For over a year, Cameron has been meeting with Miranda weekly to receive guidance on all areas of business from developing a business plan to successfully managing cash flow and accounts. Miranda has been pivotal in supporting Cameron as he fills in key business documentation and has been on hand at all hours to review QZee’s business pitches.
Miranda also supported Cameron to successfully apply for the Young Person’s Start-Up Grant of £2,000, which he plans on using to produce engaging B2B and B2C advertisement films to promote the launch of QZee. Cameron has plans to use the remainder of the grant to develop his team further as he sets his sights on UK-wide growth.
Cameron and Max work alongside a team of six, part-time and full-time employees, who were employed by Cameron in the run-up to the launch, after he was successful in receiving private equity funding at the beginning of 2022. QZee won the prestigious Tramshed Tech Start-Up Academy, andwas granted free office space in their co-working hub.
Cameron continued: “Being a part of the Start-Up Academy was huge for us, it’s an incredible venue and team that support a business at any stage to really refine their product and was a huge upgrade for us.”
Big Ideas Wales Business Advisor, Miranda Thomas, said: “Entrepreneurs are brought to us at a variety of stages within their business journeys, some only have the seed of an idea and others have well-formed businesses. Cameron came to us with a solid plan for QZee, but needed support in marketing his business, developing financial plans and ticking off all the important paperwork. Cameron is eager and willing to learn everything there is to know about running a business and I’m looking forward to using QZee’s booking app when it launches.”
Ryan Stephens, Big Ideas Wales Role Model added: “It is equally important for an entrepreneur to perfect their mindset and presence as it is for them to develop their business. Both go hand-in-hand. Cameron first came to me for support on his professional presence while working equally hard to build QZee into the business it is today. His willingness to grow professionally and personally shows that he is ready to tackle any obstacle entrepreneurship throws his way and I look forward to following Cameron journey as he supports to strengthen Wales’ hospitality sector.”
Overwhelmed by support from Big Ideas Wales and Swansea University, Cameron has now been introduced to Business Wales Growth Relationship Manager Jayesh Parmar, who can continue to support Cameron’s entrepreneurial dreams of making nightlife more accessible for students in Cardiff by working alongside the capital’s bustling bars.
Cameron has big plans for QZee. One of Cameron’s next moves in the near future is their move into reliable ‘Queue Jump’ like features for users, with a focusing on improving the nightlife experience in both Cardiff and Swansea. Cameron also hopes to strengthen his network here in Wales by focusing more on supporting independent establishments and businesses in Swansea and Cardiff during the festive season and beyond.
Has this inspired you to kick start your business idea? Visit businesswales.gov.wales/bigideas to get started