Founded 20 years ago in the conurbation of Toulouse, Lyra occupies a special place in the fintech world in France. With its star payment solution called Payzen, the group managed to establish itself as an outsider in e-commerce payment against Atos, a historic player in this niche in France.
“We gained a lot of market share in Atos, replacing it in almost every bank where it iswas implanted”notes Anton Bielakoff, its managing director.
Lyra claims the title of France’s leading white label (i.e. a company-provided payment solution in bank colors) with 50,000 e-commerce sites equipped and a presence at La Banque Postale, Societeandyouand gandnoandgrate, Cranddu Nord and the Banque Populaire-Caisse d’Épargne group.
An ultra-competitive market
In the space of a few years, dozens of French-speaking players have emerged in e-commerce payment. But few have really managed to get out of the game. France has also seen the arrival of foreign startups with big appetites.
“These are English or American companies like Checkout or Stripe.andsit close to our territory pbecause France is the fifthandmy e-commerce country in the world with just over a hundred billion dollars in revenue raisedands.
Those new ones are coming with massive fundraisers that run into hundreds of millions of euros. They have the marketing means to pay for ads on France Info every quarter of an hour, knowing that such an operation costs 200,000 euros a day. It ends up being printed and I am always surprised to see that in the depths of Ariège, some traders start with Stripe, which, however, operates from California with very few positions in France”, laments Anton Bielakoff.
Growth in Latin America and India
For its part, Lyra currently employs 250 people near Toulouse in 6,000 m2 of office space. 200 additional employees work in 12 subsidiaries abroad, which represents almost half of the company’s turnover (70 million euros in 2021).
Lyra’s president, Alain Lacour, spends part of the year in Latin America to develop the company’s business there. This part of the globe as well as India carries a good part of the ETI growth.
“These countries still use a lot of money. They need to dematerialize their transactions and are discovering the world of e-commerce at an accelerated rate since Covid. Tell ourselves that in the next few years, this under-equipped country could weigh five times the sums raised in France”believes Lyra’s CEO.
These countries love a feature offered by Lyra: payment via WhatsApp. The messaging app is installed on the factory configuration of smartphones in Latin America and is also very popular in India.
Another hunting ground experiencing a revival of activity: Germany and Spain. “Given the services provided by the incumbent banks, we noticed a real merchants’ appetite for a player like Lyra to do e-commerce in a somewhat innovative and more reactive way”continues the entrepreneur.
Overall, the Toulouse group’s e-commerce activity grew by 12% in 2021, with significant disparities depending on the business segment. “Certain sectors, such as tourism, have been particularly affected by the health crisis. We equipped all French ski resorts and the Eiffel Tower, inevitably this had repercussions on our activity. On the other hand, the retail share increased by 30% in one year”observes the manager.
At the forefront of new payment methods
Many restaurant owners and store managers had to urgently create a website to offer click-and-take. Lyra has also been able to capitalize on the rise of connected refrigerators in businesses. Large groups provided their employees with this type of refrigerator stocked with meals every day. Employees could help themselves like a candy machine. Another rising trend, Lyra is starting to equip new electricity players such as ekWator.
“We also have the particularity of developing our own solutions. For example, we internally design the 3D Safe (security protocol designed to prevent fraud in online transactions). It’s almost unique as most of our competitors outsource these technical layers. In a market with high volumes but low margins, mastering it all teaIne of value avoids having to return money at the a crowd of internsandjournals for each payment. This allows us to be profitable without the need to make levandfunds”, underlines Anton Bielakoff.
A mastery of technological bricks that also allows Lyra to be at the forefront of all new forms of payment. Latest innovation: Pay by voice from an Alexa or Google Home speaker. In another vein, ETI also launched e-commerce instant transfers last fall.
“We started to reach a fringe of merchants who, until now, were only able to receive when they were close to their customers. from Tupperware to order products remotely with peace of mind”describes the general manager.
Before concluding: “We’re trying to keep an eye on what tomorrow’s payment will do.”