Ivorian fintech Julaya raises $2M to digitize business payments in Francophone Africa – TechCrunch

by Jeremy

There are over 1 billion mobile money accounts globally. Africa leads the way in transaction value and volume thanks to M-Pesa, primarily used in East Africa. Other regions across the continent are also growing fast.

In 2019, West Africa reported the most live mobile money services globally, with 56 million active accounts. In Ivory Coast, one of Francophone Africa’s largest mobile money markets, 75% of the population own a mobile money account, compared to 20% who hold bank accounts. The difference is staggering and clearly shows the region’s massive appetite for the service.

While telecom operators have largely dominated mobile money services across most sub-Saharan Africa, a few startups are trying to change the mobile money experience for customers. Ivory Coast-based fintech startup Julaya is one such company, and today, it announced a $2 million pre-Series A funding to expand its products across West Africa.

Julia was founded in 2018 by Mathias Léopoldie and Charles Talbot. Before launching Julaya, they worked at French payment fintech LemonWay on their service in Mali and Burkina Faso. Léopoldie told TechCrunch that the experience introduced them to how mobile money worked across Francophone Africa. LemonWay acts as a payment solution for marketplaces. So, while working on expanding the fintech’s service in both countries, the pair noticed the massive potential businesses had to reach the unbanked via the extensive consumer penetration of telecom operators.

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