Paris, January 25, 2021 – Alma, the French fintech offering installment payments and pay later solutions for merchants and consumers, has just completed a €49 million Series B financing round with investment funds Cathay Innovation, Seaya Ventures, Idinvest, Bpifrance via its Large Venture fund and Picus Capital. This round of financing will help accelerate the large-scale development of Alma’s service offer for retailers. On top of this, the current outstanding debt contracted by the company to finance merchants amounts to approximately €21 million, with a mix of institutional investors (70%) and HNWI (30%).
Nearly one year after a €12.5 million Series A round of equity funding, Alma continues to grow. Founded by Louis Chatriot and Guillaume Desloges in 2017, the company keeps on innovating to provide merchants with a way to increase their sales and customer satisfaction, while giving consumers greater control over their budgets. Moreover, this desire to constantly innovate is fully in line with changes in consumer purchasing habits that were accelerated by the successive lockdowns and temporary closures of most retail stores.
“This new round of financing is a validation of the continued trust of our investors in our vision of retail. With their support, we are able to continue developing our service offering, in line with our desire to make payment facilities available to an ever-growing number of merchants and consumers» explains Louis Chatriot, co-founder and CEO of Alma.
Didier Valet, former Deputy CEO of Société Générale and the latest member on Alma’s Board of Directors adds: “The institutional refinancing framework set up by Alma allows the company to offer retailers of all sizes its solutions, which bring a real breath of fresh air to this industry.”
€49M to strengthen its presence on the European market in 2021
With this latest funding round, Alma will consolidate its presence on a significant French market made up of more than 600,000 merchants of all sizes. This comes at a time when retailers have become fully aware of the need to digitize in an uncertain economic context.
Alma’s goals for 2020 centered around responding to these concerns by providing simple payment solutions for merchants. This was shown by the rollout of BNPL payment through Pay Later and B2B payment. In addition, Alma has tied partnerships with marketplaces such as Ankorstore to lighten the burden on cash-strapped retailers.
2021 will mark an acceleration of Alma’s activities both in France and abroad with an aim to keep on supporting retailers operating in France and in many European countries. To do so, the company intends to triple its workforce and the number of merchants using its services; Alma is expecting to process an annual volume of payments exceeding 1 billion euros within 2 years.
The company will also be focusing on the design of new products such as up to 12 times installment payments, the improvement of the products they are already providing to retailers and establishing partnerships with B2B marketplaces. Alma’s stated objective is to meet consumers’ new payment expectations, while becoming an essential partner for retailers.
“We have spent a lot of time analyzing the lending sector, and in particular the Buy Now Pay Later market, across Europe and have been impressed with the talent and execution capabilities of Louis, Guillaume and the team, as well as with the company’s brand, product and technology. We are delighted to join them in their journey to become the European leader and are proud to support their growth, in and outside France” says Aristotelis Xenofontos, Director at Seaya Ventures.
«Alma meets a real need for both retailers and consumers. In the context of the pandemic and economic turmoil, Alma has demonstrated the usefulness of its innovative payment solutions which have positive economic and social impact on its ecosystem. We fully share Alma’s vision and we are confident in their ability to anticipate and support major changes in the retail industry. Alma has a great future ahead and we are proud to support its development in France and abroad», adds Jacky Abitbol, Partner at Cathay Innovation.
«Louis, Guillaume and the entire Alma team are proving on a daily basis that a combination of talent, technology and ambition enabled them to durably set a foot in an already mature market. Idinvest has supported Alma since its first financing round, closely monitoring how the company and its production capabilities have grown along the way. Alma is still at the beginning of its journey and we are proud to support the team in the long run”, explains Nicolas Debock, Managing Director at Idinvest.
“BNPL and installment payment markets are constantly growing with retailers having to adapt their business model to ever-changing customers’ needs, enabling them to reach higher conversion rates. Alma is uniquely positioned to help businesses in meeting their needs and to become a leader of the payment market. We are highly impressed with the incredible performance of Louis and its team over the past two years”, says Olivia de la Rivière, Growth Equity Investor at Bpifrance Large Venture fund.
Alma broadens its service offering by removing obstacles to payment at the time of purchase
In 2020, the significant acceleration of online shopping has highlighted the need to offer alternative payment solutions for both merchants and consumers. In order to meet these expectations, Alma has mobilized its technical and financial expertise to support online retailers, but also to strengthen physical retail stores, still suffering from the economic consequences of the health crisis.
To this end, the company has just launched Pay Later, its buy now pay later solution that allows customers to purchase goods immediately and pay for them later: two weeks to a month after the act of purchase. Thanks to Pay Later, Alma offers merchants an easy-to-use solution to attract and retain consumers, helping them face the difficult economic context at the beginning of the year.
For merchants, this represents a new competitive advantage:
- Limiting the purchase postponement at the end of the month and increasing the average shopping basket thanks to Pay Later +15 days and +30 days;
- Increasing and retaining customer loyalty thanks to this new payment facility;
- Restoring cash flow thanks to the 100% payment guarantee at the time of purchase; merchants are getting paid by Alma upfront and in full.
- Pay 15 or 30 days later – the customer can schedule the payment at the time of the order to be charged 15 or 30 days after the order is placed;
- Try before you buy – Alma allows customers to place their orders and be charged only for what they want to keep. This acts as a way to avoid crowded stores during sale season, while allowing retailers to sell off their stock;
- Full transparency on expenses at the time of purchase: there is no hidden cost to using Pay Later.
Pay Later is already used by many French retailers: fashion brands such as La Fée Maraboutée, local concept stores like Jane de Boy, or the eyewear brand Le Petit Lunetier offer their customers this option, both online and in-store.
Alma offers thousands of merchants installment payment and pay later solutions to help them increase their sales and boost customer satisfaction. The payment is guaranteed: the merchant receives the full price at the moment of purchase while the customer pays over time. To date, Alma manages hundreds of millions of euros of transactions per year. More information on getalma.eu (in French)
About Cathay Innovation
Cathay Innovation is a global venture capital fund created within Cathay Capital that invests in start-ups at the heart of the digital revolution in Europe, Asia, North America, Latin America and Africa. Its global platform brings together technology investors, investors, entrepreneurs and large companies on all continents to accelerate the growth of start-ups. We give them access to new markets, invaluable industry knowledge and allow them to meet potential partners from the outset. Cathay Innovation manages $1.5 billion in assets and has offices in San Francisco, New York, Paris, Shanghai, Beijing and Singapore. Cathay Innovation partners with visionary entrepreneurs and start-ups that are making a positive impact on the world through technology. For more information, visit www.cathayinnovation.com or follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter @Cathayinnov
About Seaya Ventures
Based in Madrid, Seaya Ventures has been backing the best entrepreneurs and teams in Southern Europe since 2013. Seaya focuses on supporting founders in scaling their businesses, enabling them to become global leaders. For more information visit www.seayaventures.com.