Tencent leads $45M investment in French payment app Lydia

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French mobile payments app Lydia has raised €40 million (about $45 million) in a Series B fundraising round led by Tencent Holdings, owner of WeChat Pay.

Additional investors in the Series B round included French insurance company CNP Assurances; asset manager New Alpha, which has been an investor since 2016; and Franco-German private equity group XAnge. Lydia reports that it will use the funding to scale its mobile financial services platform and expand across Europe. Lydia splashed onto the global fintech stage in April 2016 by becoming the first payment app on the Slack chat platform, beating out PayPal in enabling Slack users to pay each other.

“Today, 25% of 18 to 30 years-old in France have a Lydia account, and we built this powerful network effect engine with very little investment," Cyril Chiche, co-founder and CEO of Lydia, said in a press release. "With the new funding round and a partner like Tencent, who will help us save a lot of time and avoid costly mistakes in this scaling-up phase, we have all the reasons to be very ambitious.”

Since its launch in 2013 and debut on the Slack chat platform, Lydia has aggressively moved to build out its financial services platform and attract more users. Lydia introduced Google Pay onto its Android app in December 2018 for in-store payments at over 600,000 French merchants with transactions over €30 (about $33) secured by facial recognition, fingerprint or a four digit PIN code depending on phone model.

Lydia launched Apple Pay in 2017 following previous implementation of a P2P application for Apple Watch in April 2015, and integrations with Apple's iMessage and Siri. Lydia also launched a smartphone-controlled Mastercard with real-time notifications and top-up capabilities.

In December, Lydia introduced the ability for its French users to request instant credit lines of between €100 and €1,000 (about $110 and $1,100) through a partnership with Banque Casino. The lines are payable within three months of origination, according to a report from TechCrunch. Additionally, through its partnership with CNP Assurances, Lydia is offering its customers the ability to insure their smartphones for a small monthly fee.

Lydia also allows its users to share sub-accounts with friends and family to help manage and track money movement, such as during travel or sharing an apartment with someone, according to a report from the internet publication Smarthostingplans.com.

Lydia has raised over $73 million in capital over five funding rounds since 2013, according to Crunchbase, a website that tracks investments in private companies.

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