BNPL payments startup Alma raises another $130 million round – Referus


French startup Alma is trying to build a new “buy now, pay later” giant in Europe. The company has closed a $130 million (€115 million) Series C round. It has also raised $109 million (€95 million) in debt financing.

Tencent, GR Capital and Roosh Ventures are investing in the startup for the first time. Some of the startup’s existing investors are reinvesting, such as Cathay Innovation, Eurazeo, Bpifrance’s Large Venture fund, Seaya Ventures and Picus Capital. In total, it has raised $211 million (€185 million) in traditional equity financing rounds.

The company partners with 6,000 merchants to provide greater flexibility for high-cost purchases. The most important payment product is the option to pay in 2, 3 or 4 instalments.

But the company also offers various subscriptions. For example, Alma offers subscriptions for 10 or 12 months. Those options are especially popular with certain specific purchases, such as consumer electronics devices or furniture.

Finally, Alma has a payment option that allows you to buy something and pay 15 or 30 days later. This can be especially useful for items of clothing and other goods that you think you might like but end up getting back anyway.

In total, Alma processes more than €1 billion annually at the current run rate. It does not charge late payment fees as the company believes it is not in the best interests of the consumer. Some companies, such as PayPal, have dropped late fees on BNPL payments. Others generate some income from those late interests.

Instead, Alma charges a payment processing fee. Some traders choose to pay those fees directly in the hopes that it will increase sales. Other merchants share those fees with the end customers. It’s up to the trader.

Alma is following in Klarna’s footsteps and has launched a consumer mobile app. For now, the app only allows you to manage your payments. At some point in the first half of 2022, the company will let you generate virtual cards to pay in multiple installments anywhere.

In addition to online payments, consumers can pay in stores with Alma. The payment option can be integrated into the payment terminals, or merchants can generate a payment link and share it with customers. In-store payments represent 30% of the payment volume.

The startup collaborates with Alain Afflelou, Etam, Galeries Lafayette, Printemps and Ankorstore. The company recently expanded into other markets. It is now available in Spain, Italy, Germany and Belgium. And Alma now plans to expand to the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Portugal, Ireland and Austria. In other words, Alma has refined its product – now is the time to expand on a larger scale.