Qolo is building the future of payments, from Fort Lauderdale to the world

This ‘fintech for fintechs’ founded by four ‘payment geeks’ in 2018 already employs more than 100.

By Riley Kaminer

We take for granted just how easy it is to make digital payments these days. With a few taps, you can buy virtually anything using a whole host of currencies – both fiat and crypto. But the infrastructure underpinning these tools is far from straightforward. Rather, a stack of technologies work in tandem to deliver the seamless experience we’ve come to expect.

This complexity is not lost on Patricia Montesi, co-founder and CEO of Fort Lauderdale-based Qolo, a payment platform for fintechs. With two decades of payment processing tech and management experience under her belt, Montesi is intimately familiar with the ins and outs of the landscape. 

“We call ourselves payment geeks,” Montesi told Refresh Miami, referring to her team of co-founders Darren Beyer, Robert Pincus, and Steven Bishop – each of whom bring to the table decades of working in the payments space. The four founders met twenty years ago while working at Broward-based WildCard Systems, a prepaid cards platform. 

They went on to work in different initiatives over the years, sometimes crossing paths professionally but always keeping in touch. 

“We started to see a bifurcation between the first part of our careers working for the payments processor, and the second half, seeing problems from the customer’s point of view,” Montesi said. “Looking through the lens of the customer really helped inform that platform that we designed.” That realization led them to found Qolo in 2018.

Their combined decades of experience enabled the Qolo founders to create a better payments platform, taking advantage of recent technical advances that legacy providers pass over.

Qolo, by Montesi’s description, is a fintech for fintechs. “We’re the infrastructure player,” she explained, noting that Qolo can build a seemingly infinite array of solutions for customers. “We are a playground for fintechs that’s only limited by their imagination and regulations.” 

Products on offer include everything payment-related, from cards to ACH transfers to digital wallets and more. According to Montesi, customers report that a major advantage to Qolo is that all the payments infrastructure can be managed in one place. 

Montesi noted that the flexibility of Qolo’s platform helps their clients future proof their businesses, including interacting with alternative currencies like NFTs and cryptocurrencies. “We’re agnostic to value,” she asserted. “You can conduct fiat transactions or non-fiat transactions. We can transact against anything that has value including a hard asset or loyalty points.”

Since launching, the startup has amassed $27 million, including a $16 million Series A fundraise last year. Montesi signaled that the startup is just starting to raise a $50 million Series B round, with hopes of closing this summer. She hopes that this injection of capital will enable the startup to continue growing its client base fourfold. 

With the Series B funding, Montesi plans to hire a diverse group of new employees. Currently over a third of Qolo’s more than 100 employees are based in South Florida. Qolo is currently hiring for engineering, product development and QA roles, among others

International expansion is also on the roadmap for Qolo. The team is yet to determine the details, but is vetting Europe and South America as potential new markets.

Part of Qolo’s South Florida team is pictured here. Co-founder and CEO Patricia Montesi is in the center, and pictured at the top of this post.


Riley Kaminer