The Startup Playbook

Connecting you to the best entrepreneurs, investors and resources from around the world

Ep148 – Matt Elsley (Co-founder & CEO – Qsic) on teams, fundraising and enterprise sales

My guest for Ep148 of The Startup Playbook Podcast was the Co-founder & CEO of Qsic, Matt Elsley.

Qsic leverages smart devices and other inputs such as music to drive changes in real-time consumer behaviour such as increasing their spend in retail stores.

They have had a fascinating journey since launching in 2012, initially bootstrapping for the first few years before going on to raise an angel round from some of their early customers.

They are now used in over 2,500 retail stores including 7-eleven and McDonalds in the US and this week announced their Series A funding round of $4M led by Carthona Capital. 

In this interview we discussed:

  • Their decision to shut down their first business to go all in on Qsic
  • The journey from bootstrapped to VC funded company
  • How to sell to large enterprises like McDonalds and 7-Eleven in the US
  • How COVID helped Matt and his team reassess and refocus the business
  • How to get the most out of your advisors and investors
  • & much more!


  • 2.20 – Introduction to Matt and the story behind finding Qsic 
  • 7.00 – Decision to shut down his previous business and focus on Qsic 
  • 9.16 – How the introduction of streaming platforms helped to inform the market and with finding customers
  • 11.30 – Importance of having support and investment from customers especially in the early days
  • 14.55 – Pre-investment bootstrapping, borrowing from friends and family, maxing out cards 
  • 16. 14 – Building a startup with young families to support 
  • 19.06 – Sharing the conviction for the idea and bringing the team on the journey
  • 22.34 – What they hired for in the early stages of the business and why their fist hire was a CTO
  • 23.42 –  Attracting the best people in the early stages 
  • 26.06 – The story behind the haunted office space they previously worked in 
  • 28.53 – The importance of co-founders and how Matt met his co-founder, Nick, in school
  • 29.58 – Getting  key customers such as 7/11 and McDonalds US early on in the journey
  • 32.40 – Acquiring enterprise customers and the importance of doing both talking and listening in pitch meetings
  • 34.58 – Finding the industries your product is ideal for a pitch to the largest players within the industry 
  • 38.13 – Listening to the customers to first understand their focus, their why and their needs 
  • 39.30 – How COVID-19 provided the team time to reassess and refocus the business
  • 43.50 – Attracting the right people as advisors and connecting with people
  • 47.34 – Making the most out of advisors/board members 
  • 49.00 – Raising $4M Series A during COVID-19 
  • 41.49 – Trusting your instincts when choosing between investors 
  • 54.12 – What’s next for Qsic 
  • 55.28 – Where to find Matt and Qsic 

Links Mentioned

Matt’s Links 

People Mentioned 

Companies Mentioned

Special Thanks:

Special thanks to Matt Allen and Andy Mullins for their help with this interview! ?

Feedback/connect/say hello:
@RohitBhargava7 (Twitter)
/rohbhargava (LinkedIn)
@rohit_bhargava (Instagram)
My Youtube Channel


Music: Joakim Karud – Dreams

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