Ivory Coast-based payments-driven fintech startup Julaya has extended its pre-series A round by $5 million. The company, which facilitates his B2B payments for French-speaking companies in West Africa, primarily through mobile money channels, has raised a total of $7 million in funding rounds.

In 2019, West Africa reported the most live mobile money service of any region, with 56 million active accounts. In Côte d’Ivoire, one of the largest mobile money markets in French-speaking Africa, 75% of the population has a mobile money account, but only 20% have a bank account. As such, Juraja has launched its services in the West African country, Senegal, where mobile market penetration is around 80%, and other countries in his UEMOA (West African Economic and Monetary Union) region, where mobile money is also prevalent. Expanded. How to Use.

Small to large businesses in these countries can use the Julaya platform to make mass payments to other businesses and unbanked employees through existing mobile money channels. But now we have access to more services. For example, this startup prepaid card issued by Mastercard can be used for corporate expense management. The card is tailored to corporate travel needs, other online expenses and easy import of transactions into accounting systems, CEO, Matthias Leopoldi told TechCrunch in an interview.

“Our sense or strategy with cards is to offer all kinds of services because I don’t think you can build a great startup with a lot of traction in the US, for example, if you only have cards. . Charles Talbot“With the exception of South Africa, perhaps Nigeria and parts of Egypt, the card payment industry is still developing and you may be able to grow your business there, but it is almost impossible in our region. [Francophone Africa]”

Léopoldie said offering cards, most of which are physical (as requested by clients), is not Julaya’s main strategy in terms of revenue growth. According to him, this is a switching cost strategy that differentiates fintechs from competitors such as YC-backed, who see cards as the main driver.

More than 40% of Julaya’s 500 small and medium businesses (SMBs), start-ups, large corporations, and government agencies use its enterprise expense management capabilities. While the most significant volume comes from mid- to large-sized companies, Leopoldi said fintech is surprisingly being adopted more by smaller, traditional, non-digital clients. increase.

Within the past year, the Cote d’Ivoire-French start-up has expanded its product range to include a “Cash & Collect” solution that enables “quick and safe” cash collection, especially in the FMCG sector. Here, businesses can deposit cash from physical and on-site sales into Julaya accounts via mobile his money agent branches without having to go to the bank.

Last July, Leopoldi said fintech processes more than $1.5 million every month. Those numbers saw him increase fivefold to over his $7.5 million, and revenue increased by more than 500% year-over-year as well. Brands such as Jumia and Sendy are some of Julaya’s clients.


Image credit: Julaya

European venture capital fund Speedinvest led Julaya’s pre-series A extension round. EQ2 Ventures, Kibo Ventures, Angel Syndicate his Unpopular Ventures and Jedar Capital, existing investors Orange Ventures, Saviu, 50 Partners, Ivory Coast business His angel Mohamed Diabi and professional footballer Edouard Mendy are also in the round. invested.

Mendy’s participation, the first in Africa and the second in the world, highlights the growing involvement of athletes in the African venture capital scene. This week, TechCrunch featured Byld Ventures, her $15 million fund aimed at fintechs in Africa. Impressive with the news was the number of athletes involved as his partner in the company’s limited. Some also make direct investments from various reports. Mendy is African, unlike the others who are predominantly European. He may be one of the first African athletes to back a startup, but Leopoldi believes there will be more examples in the near future.

“I think he’s a little ahead of the curve. Football stars and the wealthy in the sports industry are starting to realize they need to invest in venture capital for two reasons. It’s a high asset, but it will bring a big return, and secondly, to show that they are not only interested in their sporting career, but also want to inspire their home country. You have to use your own image. It made sense for Edouard Mendy from Senegal.”

Julaya also received investments from the CFO and Senegal country manager. Proceeds from this funding round will go to Francophone FinTech in its further expansion plans across West Africa as it plans to open offices, hire people and accelerate product development in Benin, Togo and Burkina Faso. to support

Enrique Martinez-Hausmann, principal at lead investor Speedinvest, said the company’s portfolio companies are transforming the way businesses operate in a complex payment environment across Francophone, which also includes known players such as CinetPay and Bizao. I said yes. As we look to the future, the potential of Julaya’s technology goes well beyond payments capabilities, and we have the opportunity to become a close banking partner for companies in West Africa,” said Martinez-Hausmann.

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