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French startup that helps online retailers handle payments and returns easily bags €2.5M funding

Elyn founders
Image credits: Elyn

E-commerce giants such as Amazon and Zalando have long realised the potential of letting customers try their items before deciding what to purchase. Building these features helps them drive significant revenues to their already massive earnings.

Mimicking this revenue stream, Elyn, a French startup that develops digital tools for e-retailers offers a try-before-you-buy (TBYB) service. It lets customers try their online purchases before paying for them and adds alternative options to simple refunds, such as instant exchanges.

Raises €2.5M investment

In a recent development, Elyn picked up €2.5 million in pre-seed funding led by Headline and Arc, Sequoia’s catalyst for pre-seed and seed companies. Also, the round saw participation from retail and fintech experts – Motier Venture (Family Office of the owners of the Galeries Lafayette), Financière Saint James (Family Office of Michaël Benabou, co-founder of Veepee), Marc Menasé (Founders Future) and Guillaume Princen (former EMEA director of Stripe).

This round of financing has enabled Elyn to grow its team of 15 employees. From focusing on Shopify merchants in France, the company is now expanding to other CMSs, including Salesforce Commerce Cloud.

“As we see e-commerce giants (that are at the forefront of customer experience) implementing try-before-you-buy options, we’re convinced that TBYB is the next “new standard” for e-commerce. We’re at the very beginning of this option’s adoption, and we’re convinced that just like free returns and free shipping, every major e-commerce brand will offer a TBYB option in the next 12 months,” said El Mehdi Hachad, co-founder and CEO at Elyn.

“The majority of merchants struggle with returns management, and most of them are not capable of handling exchanges at scale. They manage them ad hoc, manually, or not at all. Yet customers are more and more used to “try-before-you-buy” and overall seamless experiences. When they don’t find them, frustration arises. Elyn is here to bridge that gap, to allow every merchant to offer a shopping experience on par with the e-commerce giants,” added Hamza Sentissi, Co-Founder and CTO at Elyn.

“Elyn offers so much more than a payment solution. Hamza and Mehdi started by adding easy ways to transform product returns from a pure loss to a source of revenue. But they have the vision and talent to become the leading customer experience SaaS and a driving force for modern retail. They are in the business of making customer obsession a turnkey solution accessible to all,” said Jonathan Userovici, General Partner at Headline.

“What makes Elyn unique is the fact that it can manage the entire customer journey. From the start, Elyn has designed the product with a “payment” pillar and a second “SaaS – returns management” pillar. This dual dimension gives greater flexibility to the services Elyn can offer to end customers, while significantly increasing the quality of the customer experience and optimizing merchants’ economic performance,” said George Robson, Partner at Sequoia.

Streamlines online buying process

Founded in 2022 by Hamza Sentissi and El Mehdi Hachad, Elyn enables online retailers to improve their conversion rate by removing one of the last barriers to purchase: the fear of a messy return. It has built a turnkey solution that merchants small and big can implement in their existing e-commerce stack.

Within hours, brands can provide their customers with a try-before-you-buy option, as well as advanced return options. On the other hand, customers get more options while merchants get to increase conversion rates of over 30% at the beginning of the shopping journey as well as transform a portion of costly returns into new sales.

Given the TBYB option, more than 20% of customers choose it at checkout, while 80% of them state that they would not have ordered in the first place if it wasn’t there. Among the customers choosing Elyn, a whopping 80% are new customers of a given brand.

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