The French fintech community confirms its resilience, with, among other things, the announcement of a great deal completed by the Alma nugget. The Parisian start-up announced this Monday, January 25, 2021 a round of funding of 49 million euros in series B led by the investment fund Cathay Innovation.
To the other investors – Idinvest, Bpifrance (via its Large Venture fund), Seaya Ventures and Picus Capital – is added the current outstanding debt, contracted with a mix of institutional investors up to 70%, and HNWI (up to 30%), which amounts to around € 21 million.
A number of customers multiplied by 6
This fundraising, which follows a round of funding in Series A of 12.5 million euros in January 2020, should enable it to accelerate the large-scale development of its service offering to traders. “We want to scale up, both in terms of the number of SME users, but also by conquering more large accounts“, confides Louis Chatriot, co-founder of the company, to The Digital Factory. Now adopted by brands like Kusmi Tea, Kookai or KitchenAid, the solution has multiplied by 6 the number of its customers and transactions generated in 2020.
Alma offers split and deferred payment solutions for merchants and consumers. FinTech was born in 2017 from the desire to generalize these means of payment and simplify their integration.
This funding must also accompany the deployment of a new product, a deferred payment solution called Pay Later, and announced a few days ago. It allows you to pay for purchases on D + 15 or D + 30. The customer can schedule the payment at the time of the order to be debited 15 or 30 days after placing the order. The interest for the user is to be able to try before buying and to be charged only for the products that he keeps. A service offered by some e-merchants like Zalando or Asos, and which is essential at a time when many consumers are fleeing stores.
On the merchant side, the option makes it possible to limit purchase deferrals at the end of the month, to increase the basket, and therefore to sell their stocks. “It is also a very good channel for acquiring and retaining customers“, adds Louis Chariot. Finally, the solution makes it possible to restore cash flow thanks to the guarantee of 100% payment from the act of purchase, Alma immediately settling the entire amount of the purchase to the merchant. The service is already available. used by La Fée Maraboutée, Jane de Boy and the eyewear brand Le Petit Lunetier.
Develop a European-wide solution
For the start-up, this increase in demand for services linked to online payment is consistent with changes in the purchasing habits of consumers, faced with successive lockdowns and temporary closures of many businesses. In a context of economic uncertainty and budget restrictions among certain households, Alma will also develop split payment up to 12 times.
For Louis Chariot, Alma “will move up a gear“in 2021. The coming months will be marked by an acceleration of Alma’s international activity, with the main objective of continuing to help merchants who sell in France but also in several countries in Europe. “We want to support French merchants for the acceptance of non-French payments“, summarizes the entrepreneur.
In the absence of a solution developed on a European scale in a very fragmented market, fintech wants to impose itself in the long term among its European neighbors and gradually establish local teams by capitalizing on its expertise in customer satisfaction. A task that will not be so easy, with the arrival of PayPal on the subject and the domination of certain players like Klarna, which nevertheless remains very focused on its markets.
Workforce multiplied by 3 in 2021
Customer satisfaction will also be one of the strongest challenges in the months to come, with particular attention to the teams conveying this vision deeply embedded in Alma’s corporate culture. “Half of our employees joined Alma less than a year ago, continues Louis Chariot. We plan to multiply our workforce, currently 50 people, by 3 in the coming months. In my opinion, it is this collective intelligence that differentiates Alma from other competing solutions.“.
Alma aims for an annual volume of payments exceeding one billion euros within 2 years, which she manages to date “hundreds of millions of euros in transactions per year“.