Q&A with Emilian Stoilkov at QaiWare

Emilian Stoilkov QaiWareAs the ecommerce landscape continues to evolve, merchants face an increasing need to offer local payment methods at checkout. This shift is evident in the APAC region, where digital wallets accounted for 69% of online payments in 2022.  

However, many businesses are challenged by the need to expand their payment systems across markets while lacking the local tools and expertise required for efficient management. Consequently, operational bottlenecks emerge, hindering their ability to adapt swiftly to market changes and customer preferences.  

Integrating new payment methods into existing systems exacerbates reconciliation challenges, posing significant cost risks if left unaddressed. Despite these obstacles, the global payment orchestration market is thriving, with a value of $1.13 billion in 2022 and projected growth to $6.52 billion by 2030. The proliferation of e-commerce platforms is expected to drive this growth.  

Payment orchestration offers solutions to several challenges for businesses operating across multiple regions. By leveraging payment orchestration, ecommerce companies can customise their checkout process to align with each region’s preferred payment methods, currencies, and languages, while ensuring compliance with diverse regulations.  Streamlining the payment cycle enables businesses to achieve their objectives of reducing payment acceptance costs and enhancing operational efficiency, positioning them for sustainable growth and success in the global ecommerce landscape. 

Payments Consulting Network’s Commercial Director, Matt Jones, recently engaged in a comprehensive discussion with Emilian Stoilkov, CEO and co-founder of QaiWare, covering a spectrum of payment-related topics. From dissecting payment orchestration to exploring QaiWare’s flagship Unak product and even delving into the potential of in-car payments, the conversation provided invaluable insights into the evolving payment ecosystem.  

Emilian highlighted the growing merchant demand for seamless payment experiences, emphasising QaiWare’s commitment to understanding client challenges and delivering innovative solutions.

As QaiWare has evolved from a small team of consultants to a robust workforce of 60 engineers, their focus on both consulting projects and product development underscores their dedication to addressing the evolving needs of their clients. Read on for further highlights from this insightful discussion with their CEO and co-founder. 

MJ: Please provide a brief high-level overview of your business. 

ES: QaiWare is a prominent fintech firm headquartered in Bulgaria and has steadily grown since our establishment in 2011. What began with just four IT-engineers has now expanded to a team of over 60 seasoned engineers. Our focus remains on providing comprehensive software product development, consulting, and skill enhancement services.  

At QaiWare, we believe in empowering every company to navigate the world of payments seamlessly, guided by our unwavering commitment to innovation and excellence. 

MJ: What solutions do you offer merchants and not-for-profit organisations in Australia? 

ES: We specialise in simplifying payments infrastructure, making it easily implementable and transforming payments into a seamless process for organisations of all sizes. Our comprehensive solutions, encompassing both services and our flagship product Unak, address various payment needs including orchestration, optimisation, reporting, reconciliation, wallet management, marketplace integration, and payment service provider (PSP) aggregation.  

While our roots lie in the financial sector, where we initially provided banking and financial services, our clientele now spans diverse industries facing what we term “payment complexity.” From automotive and airlines to travel, hospitality, and non-profit organisations, we cater to companies grappling with intricate payment setups. In essence, our products and services are tailored to meet the needs of multinational corporations, those with omnichannel requirements, and entities managing complex payment flows. 

MJ: What do you see as your key strengths? 

ES: Our primary strength lies in our unwavering focus on technological innovation within the payment domain, enabling us to tackle business challenges with the latest technology. Collaborating closely with our clients, we provide them with innovative, reliable, and scalable bespoke solutions tailored to their specific needs. 

With a team of skilled professionals and a focus on innovative technologies, we excel in developing custom software solutions that drive business growth and efficiency. Additionally, we prioritise client satisfaction, ensuring that each project is completed on time and within budget while maintaining open communication and transparency throughout the process.  

Through our holistic approach, we offer unparalleled solutions that address both business and technological needs, ultimately empowering our clients to thrive in the ever-evolving payment landscape. Our expertise, reliability, and dedication establish us as a trusted partner in driving digital transformation in the payment domain. 

MJ: What were your key achievements over the last 12 months? 

ES: Over the past 12 months, we have experienced consistent growth and successfully introduced our latest product, Unak, to the market. Unak represents a state-of-the-art payment orchestration platform designed to streamline and optimise payment processes for businesses of all sizes. Offering a comprehensive solution, Unak enables businesses to efficiently manage and control their payment operations, facilitating seamless scalability, cost reduction, and enhanced customer experiences.  

It provides opportunities for businesses to modernise their payment systems, increase revenue through new payment channels, and stay ahead of the competition in today’s rapidly evolving payment landscape. Overall, Unak empowers businesses to unlock their full potential in the realm of payments. 

MJ: What key criteria or features should a business consider when evaluating a payments orchestration platform? 

ES: When it comes to payment orchestration, most of the players in the market speak about extendability. In reality, they offer service (or service software) rather than a technological solution. 

In many cases, customers, while trying to avoid vendor lock-in, end up with a payment orchestration platform that promises to be flexible and customisable (at least smaller POPs set on this promise), but at the end of the day, control over the features and integrations is never given to the customers.  

Besides reliability and scalability, having control and flexibility are two of the most important issues for customers. Thanks to its open architecture, Unak gives customers full control over payment complexity. 

MJ: What industry changes or trends to do you see occurring over the next 2-3 years that will have a major impact on your business and/or your clients? 

ES: The forecast suggests that the payment market will become subject to more and more regulations in the coming years. New players will emerge in the market, such as from the automotive sector (for example, Mercedes Pay), and from the entertainment sector (companies like YouTube, Facebook, TikTok, WhatsApp may enter the payments business more prominently). 

That’s why it will be advantageous for companies to find a flexible solution like ours (such as Unak), which has an open architecture and ecosystem, enabling them to react quickly to upcoming changes (new regulations, payment flows, payment methods, etc.). All of this should occur in a suitable and secure manner. 

MJ: What innovations do you have on your product/service roadmap for the next 12 months? 

ES: We are planning to further refine our product and to add more use cases to the shelf. Its catalog of open integrations will be also expanded. Unak boasts of several innovations that set it apart in the payment orchestration landscape. One key innovation is its open ecosystem approach, which allows for seamless integration with existing systems and offers unparalleled scalability. 

Additionally, Unak’s modular architecture enables businesses to tailor the platform to their specific needs, maximizing flexibility and efficiency. Another innovative feature is Unak’s focus on data ownership and security, ensuring that businesses have full control over their payment data and compliance with regulations such as GDPR.  

Furthermore, Unak’s off-the-shelf feature set, combined with its low total cost of ownership and absence of per-transaction fees, makes it a cost-effective solution for payment excellence, ensuring maximum savings for our clients. This makes us the preferred choice for growing companies seeking cost-effective solutions. 

Many customers end up using payment orchestration platforms that promise flexibility and customisation, especially smaller POPs. However, in reality, these platforms often fail to provide true control over features and integrations. Beyond reliability and scalability, having control and flexibility are two of the most important issues for customers. 

Thanks to its open architecture Unak gives the customers full control over the payment complexity. 

Author: Matt Jones, Commercial Director, London, Payments Consulting Network
With over 15 years in the payments industry, Matt has worked with notable organisations like Barclays and Elavon, as well as startups in the fintech space. His expertise spans diverse commercial sectors, including direct engagements with major merchants and banks. Matt excels in procurement-level insights, adeptly handling pricing models, strategic planning, and competitive analysis. 


QaiWare is a member of our Payments Orchestration panel. 


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