Saeed Gharnagh of Qeepem: “I encourage my colleagues to manage their time effectively”

I encourage my colleagues to manage their time effectively. If there are any challenges or hurdles, we come together as a team and solve them together. We encourage our team members to take breaks, clear their minds, and come back when they feel more at peace. But the most important thing is understanding the vision […]

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I encourage my colleagues to manage their time effectively. If there are any challenges or hurdles, we come together as a team and solve them together. We encourage our team members to take breaks, clear their minds, and come back when they feel more at peace. But the most important thing is understanding the vision and visualizing the product moving towards that. The satisfaction of transforming people’s lives is the fuel for our engines.


As part of my series about the “5 Things You Need To Know To Create a Successful App or SaaS”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Saeed Gharnagh.

As Chief Executive Officer and co-founder, Saeed is responsible for providing vision and direction to the Qeepem team. Throughout his career, Saeed has been motivated by problem solving and using technology to help people and society around him. Saeed is a thought leader in AI, digital transformation and disruptive technologies. He is a seasoned entrepreneur who has founded other software firms in the past. When he is not working, he plays soccer with his friends.


Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?

We used to work as consultants and were always in need of keeping track of our expenses. We noticed there were no tools easily available to do that and greatly needed to capture data from receipts in order to keep track of these expenses. We noticed that the tools out there only kept your records as images without any data capture. There were a few additional tools, but they were either inaccurate or expensive. This gap in capturing information from receipts made us think about a solution that would change people’s behaviour .

What was the “Aha Moment” that led you to think of the idea for your current company? Can you share that story with us?

We were frustrated and disappointed that we were not able to find an easily available tool to help us. This made us realize that the whole receipt lifecycle could be revolutionized. As a digital transformation company, we felt we should do something about it. We started to research about capture tools and how AI can help retrieving data in a meaningful manner. We also realized that paper receipts are very hard to maintain, as they can take physical space and all fade away in a short timeframe.

Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up? Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?

Digital transformation is always challenging as it is changing the norm. When we started, we had an idea for our vision and where the goal line was, but in order to reach that, we needed to create a pathway. We had to create a tool that is smart enough to recognize thousands of different kinds of receipts with a high accuracy so that it would be convenient for our users. This was challenging as our AI had to be trained on many receipts. We had limited access to personal receipts and had to use whatever we could find amongst ourselves. It was very challenging to increase the accuracy of our AI, but we had to do it. We knew how satisfying the end result would be, so we continued to tackle these challenges and move forward.

So, how are things going today? How did your grit and resilience lead to your eventual success?

We are in a very good spot right now. Our app is stable and accurate and available on two major platforms; iOS and Android. Our user base is growing and we feel when people start to use the app and see the value it provides, they would recommend it to their friends. Our hard work and perseverance is helping to grow the app by improving the accuracy and adding new features every day.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take-aways’ you learned from that?

When we started, we didn’t realize that receipt format and language could become a big challenge and decided to go live globally. Very quickly, we realized that many countries use very different receipts formats with different languages that our AI needed to learn. We had to limit the first release to Canada. The biggest take-away for us was to not take things for granted and think about all the different aspects of the solution.

What do you think makes your company to stand out? Can you share a story?

We are unique, not just in what our product does now, but what it will become. Our goal is to change people’s behaviours and empower them to understand and manage their finances with confidence — Qeepem can understand user behaviour and suggest how to better manage finances. It can also help optimize their shopping experience by providing tailored promotions to our users.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

I encourage my colleagues to manage their time effectively. If there are any challenges or hurdles, we come together as a team and solve them together. We encourage our team members to take breaks, clear their minds, and come back when they feel more at peace. But the most important thing is understanding the vision and visualizing the product moving towards that. The satisfaction of transforming people’s lives is the fuel for our engines.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

It is about a great team. Success cannot be achieved by one person. You need to have a great team to make a great product. We have an amazing team willing to go great lengths.

Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. Approximately how many users or subscribers does your app or software currently have? Can you share with our readers three of the main steps you’ve taken to build such a large community?

Our app is very new and we only officially launched in the market-place a few months ago. Most of our users have been our networks, consistently testing out our features and helping to improve our customer experience. We are now at the stage where we have opened it up to Canada, and a few weeks back, have included the United States.

What is your monetization model? How do you monetize your community of users? Have you considered other monetization options? Why did you not use those?

Qeepem has not yet arrived at the point of monetization as we are still validating our services and app. We plan on exploring several monetization options both B2C and B2B, when the timing is right.

Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things one should know in order to create a very successful app or a SaaS? Please share a story or an example for each.

Clearly define your vision, understand for whom you are trying to solve the problem. Then, find skillful people that believe in your vision, define a road map to reach that vision, and do not be afraid to pivot or change your path to reach that.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

We have an important future outlook to make the world a better place by reducing paper waste. We would ask everyone to participate in this initiative by not receiving paper receipts as much as they can, as many stores and retailers offer e-receipts. People can use their Qeepem ID to store and keep track of those e-receipts. It is as simple as downloading the app, signing up and getting their Qeepem ID. We have also started a paperless initiative in our office to help us toward a paperless world.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

We are on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

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