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Lydia, the payment app that won over French youth

SEVERIN MILLET

The old workshop on rue du Sentier, which now serves as Parisian premises for the start-up Lydia, is not yet fully furnished and equipped. The company specializing in payments has just moved there, in two open spaces on the ground floor and in the basement, to accommodate continuously growing teams. Today, it has 90 employees, and plans to hire 70 more this year.

The fintech (finance start-up) created in 2013 now has the means. It has just announced, on January 15, having raised 40 million euros during a round table led by Tencent, the Chinese giant of the Internet; The parent company of WeChat messaging (1 billion monthly users), the Hong Kong-listed group is one of the world's largest players in financial services, with its WeChat Pay app.

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Three million individual customers

Digital Secretary of State Cédric O welcomed the news on Twitter. Lydia “Raises 40 million euros to establish itself as the leader of European fintech”, he greeted.

Would European investors have missed the boat, while payment is becoming a major industrial strategy and sovereignty issue? “The reception was extraordinary among the Americans and the Chinese, average in Europe”, just comments on Cyril Chiche, the co-founder and president of Lydia. The public investment bank Bpifrance, for example, did not participate in the round table because“She does not wish to be present in more than 5% of the fundraising of start-ups each year”.

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The successful app could however eventually claim the status of European payments champion, with its three million individual customers, more than half of which use it every month. “25% of French people aged 18 to 30 have a Lydia account”, says the company. Ma Danying, Tencent's investment director, says he sees a future for French fintech “European leader” mobile financial services.

Lydia, however, had no difficulty closing her round. The historic shareholders Open CNP (venture capital fund of the CNP Assurances group), XAnge and New Alpha participated in the operation. A fund, which wished to remain anonymous, also took a ticket, alongside Tencent. There were many brands of interest on the side of French banks, but fintech prefers to eventually aim for a stock market listing.

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