Tencent Leads $45M Funding Round For France P2P App Lydia

Payments Startup Lydia Notches $45M

French payments startup Lydia closed a $45 million (40 million euro) series B round led by Tencent, with participation from existing investors CNP Assurances, XAnge and New Alpha, TechCrunch reported Wednesday (Jan. 15).

The mobile payment app company — similar to Square Cash or Venmo — has attracted users in excess of 3 million in France, with 25 percent falling between the ages of 18 and 30 years old. The startup adds about 5,000 new users daily.

“At first, we wanted to raise less, but we ended up raising more,” Lydia Co-Founder and CEO Cyril Chiche told TechCrunch.

The company recently introduced a marketplace offering other financial products. For example, Lydia users can instantly borrow up to 1,000 euros ($1,115) and buy phone insurance. Users are also offered free credit for opening a bank account, comparing internet providers and more.

“We have an ambitious goal, which is turning Lydia into a mobile financial service app,” Chiche said.

“Tencent is also the No. 1 player in the video game industry, and there’s no industry with as much user engagement,” he added.

The company has moved beyond peer-to-peer (P2P) payment, helping users manage their money in real time. Multiple Lydia accounts can be created so people can separate funds earmarked for different purposes. Accounts can also be shared among users.

The company said it doesn’t want to replace banks; instead it wants to build a meta-banking app and become a financial hub.

Between 2017 and 2019, Lydia grew to 3 million users from 300,000 with only a few dozen employees. The company now employs over 90 people. Most of Lydia’s users are in France, where it the app is the mobile payment leader, however, the service is also available in Ireland, Spain, Portugal and the U.K.

Lydia was launched in July 2013 by Chiche and Antoine Porte. Prior to this funding round, Lydia raised $29.2 million in four funding rounds.