Meet the MD: Craig Buchan of Qpal

Meet the MD: Craig Buchan of Qpal

Craig Buchan is the founder and CEO of event payment app Qpal. After spending his youth dreaming of a career in football, having been scouted as a youngster, Craig found himself falling into a role as an IT recruitment consultant before what he described as "the Qpal lightbulb moment". He caught up with BQ to tell his story...

 Describe your role in no more than 100 words.
I’ve taken Qpal through the early growth stages as sole-founder of the business and we now have a team working alongside me. My main focus right now is raising investment for the business, which will allow us to product dev, market dev and grow the team in size and stature.

What is it the company does?
We’ve developed a FinTech solution for the live events industry and we plan to revolutionise the experience at events. We’ll deliver cashless event solutions and bespoke data insights to key event stakeholders.

Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?
I graduated from Robert Gordon University in 2014 with a degree in Business Management and Marketing. During my studies I secured a yearlong internship with a cracking Oil&Gas consultancy firm that really allowed me to develop as an individual.

I then fell into a role as an IT recruitment consultant after graduation, I got in with a decent company that had solid ethics on how recruitment should be done, and I really enjoyed my time there.

The reason for moving on from there though was the Qpal light bulb moment happened…

What do you believe makes a great leader?

Someone who drives the vision of an organisation rather than managing every department and employee within it.  Having confidence in your own ability, but also having confidence to pass responsibility to those stronger in certain other areas.

What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?
I’m sure this will apply to all Managing Directors in start up mode, having to spin all of the plates! A big challenge but also part of the fun of running your own company!

How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?
I’m fortunate to have a good team around me supporting Qpal so stress situations have been few and far between (touchwood!)

I do spend time on the golf course though, it gives me a chance to take a step back and think about the business away from the heat of battle. Although a bad round often leaves me more stressed than when I started!

When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I was football daft, and not a bad player either, so I always dreamed of being scouted and going up the pro ranks. The reality dawned on me that it wouldn’t happen, so through high school I had thoughts about becoming a stockbroker, as there was something that really caught my attention about Canary Wharf/The City when I had holidays to London.

Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about them?
I get frustrated with people having their phone on silent but the vibrate still on... we all know it’s not actually silent like that! Sometimes I flag people up, sometimes the setting isn’t right. It will be a Qpal rule across the offices in years to come though!

Where do you see the company in five years time?
Still enhancing experiences at live events, but also diversifying into other industries with our data insights capabilities. I want us to be a globally recognised firm with offices in some prominent locations across the globe.

What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?

 Get involved in a business accelerator to set you off in the right direction, then network, network, network!