Ivory Coast-based fintech startup, Julaya raises $2 million pre-series A for its West African expansion

July 28, 2021
2 min read

Julaya, a fintech startup based in France and Ivory Coast is today announcing the raise of its $2 million pre-series A round. Investors that participated in this round include Orange Ventures, MFS Africa Frontiers, Saviu Ventures, Launch Africa Ventures, 50 Partners Capital and angel investors from Africa and Europe.

Julaya was founded in 2018 by Mathias Léopoldie and Charles Talbot who had both worked at French payment fintech startup, LemonWay. The startup which operates in the B2B payments sector seeks to leverage the wide coverage of telecom operators to offer payment options to businesses.

To achieve this, the startup provides African businesses and public institutions with an online platform to disburse payments to mobile money and mobile banking wallets and counts eCommerce giant, Jumia as one of its clients.

Explaining the motivation behind founding the startup, co-founder and CEO, Mathias Léopoldie, said, “Having worked in the nascent mobile money industry, we realized that the large consumer penetration of telecom operators would benefit businesses that wanted to reach the unbanked and make fast payments. Our platform Julaya enables companies to streamline their accounting. They improve their operational efficiency by digitizing their payments to workers and suppliers.”

Habib Bamba, Director of Transformation, Digital and Media at Orange Côte d’Ivoire, explains the reason behind this investment for Orange Ventures: “Fintech’s environment in Africa is distinguished by its competitiveness and strong dynamism. Orange Group, through its technology investment fund, intends to participate in this boom by supporting fintechs such as Julaya. 

“The goal is to target local technology champions at the service of the transition to a more digital and responsible world. This funding will allow Julaya to grow and conquer West Africa with Orange Digital Center team’s support.”

On a call with Techpoint Africa, Léopoldie reveals that unlike other fintech payment startups, they are only focused on outbound payments rather than paying and receiving funds with no plans to process B2C payments in the future. The startup makes money by charging a fee for every transaction on the platform.

Currently, the startup has 50 corporate customers and processes about $1.5 million monthly. According to the startup, the funds raised will be used to expand their market share in Ivory Coast and West Africa, launch new digital payment products, and expand their team. 

Léopoldie lists the fragmented nature of payments, regulation, and human resources as some of the challenges the startup has faced since inception. With this fresh injection of capital, the startup plans to expand across West Africa beginning with Senegal.

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Across the world, fintech startups are courted by investors and Africa has not been left out with fintech startups responsible for a huge chunk of the funding that comes to the continent. In spite of the number of players currently in the sector, the fact that 66% of Africans are unbanked means that there is a large market for anyone bold enough to throw their hat in the ring.

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Accidental writer, covering Africa's startup landscape and its heroes. Find me on Twitter @chigo_nwokoma.
Accidental writer, covering Africa's startup landscape and its heroes. Find me on Twitter @chigo_nwokoma.
Accidental writer, covering Africa's startup landscape and its heroes. Find me on Twitter @chigo_nwokoma.

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