Ivory Coast-based fintech startup Julaya, one of the dominating telecom companies has announced a $2 million pre-Series A funding to expand its products across West Africa.
It would be recalled that Julaya was founded in 2018 by Mathias Léopoldie and Charles Talbot.
Meanwhile before launching Julaya, the pairs had worked at French payment fintech LemonWay on their service in Mali and Burkina Faso.
In his opinion, Léopoldie told TechCrunch that the experience introduced them to how mobile money worked across Francophone Africa as LemonWay acts as a payment solution for marketplaces.
So, working together on expanding FinTech service in both countries, the pair noticed the massive potential businesses had to reach the unbanked via the large consumer penetration of telecom operators.
The duo therefore said Julaya was launched to digitize trade payments but started in Ivory Coast instead of Mali and Burkina Faso, stressing that the platform enables companies to streamline their accounting and improve their operational efficiency by digitizing payments to workers and suppliers instead of relying on cash.
Meanwhile, there are over 1 billion mobile money accounts globally and Africa leads the way in transaction value and volume thanks to M-Pesa, largely used in East Africa. Other regions across the continent are also growing fast.
This is because in 2019, West Africa reported the most live mobile money services in any region, 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 own bank accounts. The difference is staggering and clearly shows the region’s huge appetite for the service.
However, the company Julaya has helped the African businesses and institutions disburse payments to mobile money and mobile banking wallets. It achieves this by working with telecom operators and other fintech startups in the region.