PayPal’s venture capital arm has invested $11 million in online returns service Happy Returns. The funding is the largest round to date for the company, bringing Happy Returns’ total raise to $25 million.
“It’s a huge validation for us,” Happy Returns Co-Founder and CEO David Sobie said in an interview, according to CNBC. “It speaks to the broader challenge or mission PayPal has, to make eCommerce as easy and frictionless as possible.”
Sobie and Co-Founder Mark Geller met at HauteLook, an early flash sale retailer that was bought by Nordstrom. The two then worked on the Return to Rack program that enabled HauteLook shoppers to return products to Nordstrom Rack stores.
“The insights gained working on Return to Rack led to founding Happy Returns, specifically, that online shoppers overwhelmingly prefer to return in person to avoid the hassle and wait of returns by mail,” according to the company website. “Happy Returns is building a network of physical return locations called Return Bars to enable in-person returns from online shoppers.”
Sobie noted that while shoppers return 5 percent to 10 percent of what’s purchased in store, they return 15 percent to 40 percent of items bought online. Happy Returns currently operates more than 350 Return Bars in malls, on college campuses and inside stores like Cost Plus World Market and Paper Source. Some of the brands working with the company include Rothy’s, Untuckit, Everlane and Eloquii.
“Happy Returns has reengineered the return process with the customer in mind and that brings greater cost savings and efficiencies to merchants,” said Robert Clarkson, vice president, North America at PayPal. “Working with Happy Returns will help us learn more about how returns can decrease the friction in shopping online and how to help merchants address this growing problem.”
This is the latest investment by PayPal Ventures, which has also backed online gift card marketplace Raise, web-based food ordering platform Olo, loan app Tala and investing platform Acorns.