Helping F&B and Events Companies Go Cashless: Q&A With Silvana Carpanelli-Hayes, Founder of WAAVE

With more than 60 F&B vendors on the app like GEM Bar and Tanjong Beach Club, and event partners such as CRAFT Singapore 2017, Oktoberfest Asia and Wine Fiesta, WAAVE is helping more people go cashless.

Apart from helping diners skip queues at F&B places and at events, you can also avoid that paiseh feeling of splitting tabs after dining, because you’ll only be paying for your own meal via WAAVE, while sitting at the same table!

No more suffering in silence when the group wants to split the bill equally even though you chose an inexpensive menu item and skipped drinks and dessert.

The LadyBoss team tried the WAAVE app at Boomarang, Boat Quay. Boomarang is well-known for its Australian breakfasts, and the location was convenient as it was located at Circular Road, in the Boat Quay area.

After downloading the app, and creating an account, credits were topped up. We browsed the menu and selected the items on the app. After selection, we were prompted to ask service staff for the code.

Our orders came soon after, eliminating the need to request the waiter for a bill. The part we liked best about the app is that each person ordered their own food – so there were no bills to split, a much fairer way to pay for F&B spend.

LadyBoss spoke to Silvana Carpanelli-Hayes about her payment app WAAVE.

Q: Tell us more about WAAVE! How long have you been doing this?  

A: WAAVE is an in-venue and events ordering and payment app. It helps a user order and pay faster at F&B venues and events by skipping the painful process of fighting for the staff’s attention. It’s the quickest and smartest way to order and pay for food, drinks and tickets in Singapore. As WAAVE bridges the service gap between consumers and venues, venues have the benefit of operating on a lean model – processing more orders and transactions per staff. WAAVE quietly launched in February 2016.

Q: Why you started WAAVE and your foray into Tech?

A: My background was in old school brick and mortar business models until 2007 in New York City, when I joined my first tech company – an online job hunting resource for Ivy League professionals during the mortgage crisis. The timing couldn’t have been better because many of these professionals were looking for jobs after their banking careers, which helped the (tech) company blossom into a successful tech-recruiting firm. I found the technology aspect way more interesting than the recruiting part, and decided to branch out with my own tech-centred concepts.

WAAVE happened because I identified a need to streamline operations in F&B and events. This need is more obvious in places like Singapore where the shortage of staff is a constant problem.

Customers were frustrated, so our solution was to repurpose their phones (something people don’t leave the house without!) and turned it into a fully operational Point of Sale system that can be used at multiple venues.

At events, users can stop spending their night standing in line to fight for the staff’s attention. They can continue to enjoy themselves after getting their orders fast.

Q: What can WAAVE users expect at F&B Vendors and events?

At F&B venues and events, you can expect faster orders and payments and better services. Your order reaches the bar before its taken down by the staff, making it a very convenient system. Some venues also run card-less memberships and rewards with WAAVE, giving users discounts just for ordering and paying with the app.

At events, users can stop spending their night standing in line to fight for the staff’s attention. They can continue to enjoy themselves after getting their orders fast. We’re partnered with cool events like CRAFT Singapore 2017, Oktoberfest Asia, and Wine Fiesta. It’s Oktoberfest’s first time going cashless this year too!

When WAAVE is used to place an order, there’s never a bill to split because you only pay for what you ordered. To me, it’s one of the best parts because you avoid talking about money when you are out with friends. People place their own orders or they take turns to order a round with WAAVE. When you want to leave, you just get up and go! I dislike the idea of splitting things; it means you have to talk about money and that can be an awkward topic to bring up.

Q: What were the challenges you faced starting WAAVE & how did you overcome the challenges?

A: I think the main challenge was changing behavioural patterns. Customers are used to waving for the service staff’s attention, and now we ask them WAAVE instead. We are trying to break old habits and introduce people to a more effective way of doing things. Once we started getting traction, people were showing each other the app, sharing their code, spreading the word and educating each other about the app! I think the cashless concept is still in its infancy stage, but I’m confident we’ll get there.

Q: In terms of sales & marketing, how do you reach your users, and what works?  

A: WAAVE is a very unique solution for events. We run our own online portal where people can purchase tickets for some of the best events in Singapore. By the time guests arrive at the event, they would already have the app installed and are ready to start spending at the bar. It’s is a very smooth onboarding process. With WAAVE, queues are almost non-existent. There’s no wristband to top-up and no risk of losing money.

Events are where people meet WAAVE, and after that they start exploring and understanding how WAAVE is not just an event app, but a daily tool much like their favourite transport or grocery shopping app.

We showed a 235% growth year on year! This number proves to our investors that there is a huge market out there ready to WAAVE, positioning us nicely towards a Series A.

Q: Are you raising funds for your business? Could you share with us your experience?

A: As a startup, we are always raising capital! We truly did our first year on a shoestring, which is fantastic because now that we have a bit more money to spend. We showed a 235% growth year on year! This number proves to our investors that there is a huge market out there ready to WAAVE, positioning us nicely towards a Series A.

I feel the angel investor sector is strong and vibrant in Asia. WAAVE was very well received here and in Hong Kong. We’ll see how the VC world responds!

The venues see the added value and they don’t feel ripped off by fees. The users appreciate the service and quickly see the convenience and the savings.

Q: What is your business philosophy?

A: Good business needs to be good for all parties involved. With the WAAVE model, everyone wins. The venues see the added value and they don’t feel ripped off by fees. The users appreciate the service and quickly see the convenience and the savings. We really nurture this balance, and that is the core of our business philosophy.

Q: What motivates you personally?   

A: Change. For me it has always been about finding solutions. Bringing change to things that desperately need it, being able to transform these changes multiple times into other solutions, and constantly moving forward. You are never done in this industry, and that’s what makes me work 7 days a week and still attend our events with the same curiosity I had the day we started.

Q: What’s the future for WAAVE?

WAAVE grows from innovation. The future of WAAVE is based on new tech. Our R&D is working on some crazy exciting stuff at the moment. We are also looking at WAAVE-ing without borders! So definitely expect to see us popping up in other markets really soon.

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This article was written by the LadyBoss team. Want to be a contributor? Drop us an email at editor@ladyboss.asia

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