Alma logoAlma logo
©Alma logo|Alma

Fintech Alma sets up its customer relations center in Lille

The promise of fintech Alma is to enable all retailers, whatever their size, to offer their customers fractional or deferred payment. With a presence in Paris and several local branches throughout Europe, Alma has decided to open its customer relations center in Lille, from where it aims to support all users of its solution.

Alma logoAlma logo
©Alma logo|Alma

Alma, financial tools for all retailers 

Founded in 2018, Alma offers a no-obligation solution enabling merchants to increase their sales by setting up fractional or deferred payment on their online store or in their physical business. The start-up manages the risk of non-payment and guarantees all payments to its merchants.

Much more than just a financial solution, the start-up is committed to putting the commercial relationship at the heart of its business. To this end, it invests heavily in the development of its product, not only to offer the best possible shopping experience, but also to improve its scoring algorithms, which enable a payment request to be accepted or rejected in a matter of seconds.

Being at the service of commerce also means having a team dedicated to commercial relations. At Alma, this is the case with a team available seven days a week.

And the startup’s growth is exponential! Founded three years ago, it already has 220 employees and plans to double its workforce by the end of 2022. Alma has already raised several rounds of financing, most recently 210 million euros (including 115 million in equity and 95 million in debt). More than 6,000 merchants use Alma every day: small retailers as well as major names such as Galeries Lafayette, Le Printemps, Go Sport and Kookaï.

Present in five European countries (France, Belgium, Germany, Italy and Spain), the company intends to open up access to its financial solution in other euro zone countries, five of which are already planned for this year (Luxembourg, Netherlands, Austria, Portugal and Ireland).

To support its growth, the young start-up can count on the staff of its Paris office, as well as on the support of local branches throughout France and Europe, which are opening up as the company expands, to be as close as possible to its customers.

By the end of 2020, the company plans to open a center outside Paris, specifically dedicated to customer relations.

An ideal location in the heart of the retail valley 

To support its ambitions, Alma wants to bring together its customer relations team in a single location to offer its users the best possible experience.

To choose the destination for this project, there are several prerequisites:

  • Be in a destination where Paris is easily accessible by train.
  • Set up in a metropolis large enough to have a pool of multilingual talent.
  • Be part of a strong and dynamic local ecosystem.

After visiting Reims, Rennes and Nantes, the Alma team turned to Lille, a logical and natural choice.

What really tipped the scales was the fact that the Lille region is THE land of retail in France. There are many large head offices here, but also companies renowned for the excellence of their customer relations. In the Lille area, you’ll find customer management nuggets that really have this in their DNA. We’ve sensed this in our various encounters, and it’s really specific to the metropolis.

François Solignac, Director of Operations

Once they had found their destination, the Alma team was able to count on the support and guidance of the Hello Lille Invest team to find the location of their dreams.

After several visits, Euratechnologies was chosen for several reasons. Firstly, for the flexibility of its offer and the high standard of its services. With 15 employees starting up in July 2021, Alma’s goal is to have nearly 150 employees on site by the end of 2023.

Euratechnologies is the Station F of the Lille metropolis. There’s a whole ecosystem of interest to us, from entrepreneurs to other startups, not to mention major corporate headquarters. We can attend a lot of events and be as close as possible to our customers like Ankorstore, which is the place to be!

François Solignac, Director of Operations

As soon as she arrived, Alma benefited from the Invest team’s support in putting her in touch with the various players: “Hello Lille was a real facilitator! We were put in touch with a number of partners, not only for the property search, but also with retailers’ associations and people from Pôle Emploi. We were also able to count on the invaluable support of Nord France Invest and Euratechnologies. The Invest team was very quick to understand our logistical needs, which really saved us time.

Now based in the former Leblan-Lafont factory, Alma has already planned to rent a 400m2 office to Wenov, located next door. Around thirty French and multilingual employees will be recruited in 2022, mainly for two profiles: the first in customer support and the fight against fraud, and the second in risk assessment.

With the arrival of Alma, the metropolis may well have welcomed a new unicorn! In any case, the future looks bright for the company, which continues to expand both in Lille and internationally.

The Hello Lille touch 

The Invest team was involved in presenting the metropolis by sector, connecting with the ecosystem and recruitment players, and real estate research.