Lydia — a French P2P payments start-up — has grabbed $7.8 million for expansion in other European countries. The service is designed to allow fee-free transfers between friends via mobile.
Thus far Lydia has been limited to in-country use only — “French Venmo,” as the service is often called, is only available in France. But much-loved as it is by its half-million or so users, Lydia is looking at the world at large.
Next up for expansion will be the U.K., Germany and Spain, all to be completed within the first six months of 2017. The service is reportedly aiming for 3 million users by its two-year anniversary. But those users, in some cases, may have to be won out from other providers. Revolut in the U.K. and Cookies in Germany offer similar services to Lydia and are also looking to expand in the European market.
But Lydia’s secret sauce is that it is mobile first, not quite mobile married — as of a few weeks ago, Lydia rolled out with a plastic Mastercard that functions like any other except that it is easily customizable into the Lydia app. Other features of the service include instant transaction visibility, blocking and unblocking online payments, foreign payments and ATM withdrawals.
According to Lydia founder and CEO Cyril Chiche, all fintech startups start with a simple product and add features that make them compete with all other fintech startups. The end point, according to Chiche, is offering all the services of a traditional bank — though as a technologically updated interface.
The winner in that race will be the firm that does it best as well as fastest while consumers are still resetting their expectations.