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This is how the long journey began! – From a simple payment site to a SaaS platform

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Today, elopage offers more than 60,000 companies a sales platform and the possibility of easy payment processing. The goals of expanding in the DACH region and on the European market have been set. But how did it all begin?

It all started with the two founders Özkan and Tolga and their shared vision to create something new and groundbreaking. The beginnings of elopage were anything but straightforward. In order to make elopage one of the fastest-growing SaaS platforms in Europe, many hurdles had to be overcome.

A good idea does not make a success

The fact that not everything always runs smoothly in life is probably known to all of us. We also experienced setbacks again and again in the first few years. It all started with an idea from Özkan: He wanted to bring restaurant owners and guests together and develop an app for a simple ordering and payment system. In 2013 he founded Elopay GmbH. After the first vision was in place, Özkan met Tolga through a mutual friend.

Tolga and Özkan live their passion.

Özkan's initial idea turned into a shared vision: an app for easy money transfer. Not only for restaurants, but for private individuals. That's how elopay.me was born, a web version of the app that enabled instant payments. With his technical background, Tolga was able to further develop the original app. Full of zest for action, the two worked on their business model and tried to win over investors.

But there were no successes. At the beginning of 2015, the account showed 0 euros. Friends, family, acquaintances \u2012 they all advised several times to break off the joint venture. Instead of burying their heads in the sand, Özkan and Tolga stuck to their vision. With elopay.me, they wanted to launch a completely new payment system on the market. The search for investors was put on hold.

The next setback was not long in coming. In mid-2015, PayPal launched a new payment system – paypal.me. The extreme similarities between paypal.me and elopay.me forced the team to rethink again.

Instant payment was possible via elopay's dashboard.

5, 6 or even 7 pivots? Knocking on doors was the order of the day!

The two founders were still convinced of the basic idea of enabling payments without any technical integration and without the exchange of sensitive data. The solution was there and offered an incredible amount of potential. But for which user group was it most valuable? To define this, Özkan and Tolga tried to convince various markets of the benefits of digitization. The goal was to finally earn the first money!

"Giving up was not an option. We have been constantly working on the product-market fit and have continued to turn the "turntables".

Tolga Önal, Co-Founder of elopage

So from now on it was time to knock on doors! The two founders turned to local restaurateurs – they could sell restaurant vouchers to regular guests. Unfortunately, the willingness of the restaurateurs was not particularly great. Additional equipment for payments was not desired and the need for digitization was not yet great enough.

The two founders also saw potential for use in taxi drivers. They could offer their passengers a cashless payment method. To realize this idea, elopage developed a completely new technology: taxi drivers were to authorize payments with a stamp. But here, too, the willingness was low, because taxi drivers wanted to avoid credit card payments as much as possible in order to avoid the high fees.

Taxi drivers were able to authorize payments via a stamp.

Audio tracks and professional photos that were sold for download could also be combined well with elopage's original payment solution. This approach brought hundreds of interested parties.

But there were no takers, marketplaces such as Gettyimages and Spotify had already conquered the market at that time. That's why elopage was not able to turn over a single euro even with this seemingly promising approach.

Nevertheless: There were users who discovered the platform for themselves. Freelancers offered their services via elopage – the instant payment allowed for immediate order processing, even on weekends. Other users sold ZIP folders with multiple files as downloads.

elopay eventually became elopage. The former FinTech company combined the basic idea of the platform with a SaaS approach. On October 2, 2015, a guitar course that used to be delivered to buyers on CD brought the first transaction via elopage. And thus the first turnover that the company made in its three-year career to date.

On 02.10.2015 the first transaction took place via elopage.

Our USP: Focus on Community & Service Obsession

The search for the right business model for elopage was over for the time being with this milestone. And so it went one after the other: Every cent, every free minute was invested in order to concentrate fully on the development of the FinTech SaaS platform and to constantly increase the potential of the software.

Additional digital products such as online courses and memberships have been created and the infrastructure of the software has been continuously optimized to offer users the best possible start for their own business. Inspiration and ideas for new features often came directly from the community. To this day, we rely on the input of our users to make elopage better and better and to optimize it for realistic use cases.

With 15 employees at the time, elopage was in the black for the first time in 2018. EPX19, a two-day conference for digital entrepreneurs, marked another milestone for the team. In April 2020, two years after reaching the breakeven, elopage already had 40 team members.

At EPX19 we welcomed 1200 attendees from our community.

In May 2020, when the pandemic had us all firmly in its grip, there was another jolt in the history of elopage. Suddenly, even those entrepreneurs who had previously only offered local services had to rethink. Whether it's a local gym or 1:1 coaching in the office – all entrepreneurs were now forced to digitize their products. elopage offers the perfect platform for this need and enables online courses, downloads and webinars for the typical mainstream topics as well as for niche industries. Within the last year, the team has once again grown significantly to support new entrepreneurs on their way to digital business and to steadily expand the platform and services.

The next milestone? A real business boost for elopage!

Be it through EPX19, through our award as one of the fastest growing start-ups in Germany or through well-known entrepreneurs who use elopage for their business – over the years we have been able to attract a lot of attention in the entrepreneurial world. elopage was interesting for large corporations as well as investors, the two founders have rejected some purchase and financing offers in the past. Nevertheless, the inquiries caused the two of them to rethink: After the initial, failed financing requests, Özkan and Tolga decided to take the topic of financing back into their own hands. They wanted to find suitable investors who would share elopage's vision and philosophy.

With Target Global, Partech Ventures and Avid Ventures, this is exactly what has been achieved: The investors are pursuing the elopage vision with the same dedication as the two founders Özkan and Tolga. The financing amount enables us to turbocharge further growth. In this way, we will be able to offer our customers even more services and exciting features for their own success story in the future. What exactly this investment means for us and for the elopage community, we shed light on on our blog.

Team first. Customers follow.

elopage's journey would not have been possible without the team and the community. We are grateful to have built such a strong team and look forward to continuing to grow. This is the only way we can always take our services to a new level.

"Only a strong, satisfied team can make customers happy and advance their business."

Özkan Akkilic, Co-Founder of elopage

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all the elopers who shaped and designed the platform!

And we also want to mention the community: A big thank you goes to our 60,000 customers who have always stood by us, believed in us and got the maximum out of elopage!

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