With the private-public funding, the Luxembourg-based startup specialized in loyalty solutions will focus on expanding and growing its team further.
Photo: Things are looking great again for Alexandros Trepeklis and Yollty’s team / Credits © Kaori Anne Jolliffe / Silicon Luxembourg
Yollty, a Luxembourg-based startup specialized in loyalty solutions has finalized a €1 million-funding round from a consortium of private and public investors.
Half of it (€545K), has been secured at the end of February 2021. The Luxembourg Business Angel Network (LBAN) and young innovative enterprises were among the main contributors.
“An additional €455K has been already committed and will be released if we achieve some predefined KPI targets in the following two years,” Alexandros Trepeklis, Yollty’s founder and CEO explains.
However, the fundraising journey has been a long and winding road: “It started a bit more than 1.5 years ago and took us around six months to secure an initial funding of €350K from private investors,” Trepeklis recalls.
Although all legal aspects were already concluded, the investors had to step back and suspend their funding as a result of the first COVID lockdown.
Setback and exile
“Some were entrepreneurs themselves and had to secure extra funding for their own businesses, in order to survive the crisis,” Trepeklis adds. “Within a single day, our secured round wasn’t any longer secured. This left us with only half of the investors still onboard.”
The confinement led to another setback: The horesca industry, Yollty’s main customer target, had to close their activities too.
“Thankfully, we didn’t give up,” its CEO continues. “Together with the team we updated all our plans to reflect the new reality”.
In order to reduce his own costs of living, Yollty’s co-founder George Symeonidis went back to Greece and worked remotely from there.
The couple continued to implement new developments and functionalities to their platform, based among others on artificial intelligence, while looking actively for new investors. “As the crisis was still unfolding, we had to focus on a much bigger round than initially planned to account for the unknown implications,” Trepeklis remembers.
“I see funding as rocket fuel, if used correctly it can help a startup take off.”
Back to Luxembourg with new solutions
However, the technological advancements, good KPIs and financial results helped the company to benefit some additional support from the Young Innovative Enterprises program (YIE), Luxinnovation’s aid scheme to startups that can demonstrate market traction and a high potential of expansion.
Today, the sky and the way seem cleared: “Things are looking great again,” Trepeklis cheers. “All the team is back in Luxembourg.”
Yollty now focuses on expanding in Luxembourg and abroad and growing its team further. To complete its tech, sales, and marketing teams, the company expects to recruit new full-time staff and a couple of interns by the summer.
Meanwhile, it has onboarded its new head of marketing Nessim Medjoub, a growth hacker and startupper.
“Even though the lockdown remains, we see significant interest from local businesses in our solution, as they want to create and develop their communication channels to their customers,” Trepeklis details. “And what better way to do that with our simple, yet powerful, and easy-to-implement loyalty solution”.
The CEO is clear about the lessons learned: “I see funding as rocket fuel, if used correctly it can help a startup take off. At the same time, if not managed correctly it can have the exact opposite results and make the rocket (startup) explode”, he says. “Therefore, we try to keep the right balance between explosive growth and sustainable operations”.
Founded in Luxembourg in 2016, Yollty launched an app that rewards customers of Small & Medium Businesses for their loyalty. After March 2020, the startup has focused on creating an AI-based solution that learns from existing customer behaviors and automatically runs marketing actions and campaigns on behalf of SMBs.