The announcement is one of the first investments of Kima Ventures, the new seed fund of Jeremie Berrebi and Xavier Niel, which we covered last week. The investment will be used to develop Leetchi’s activities and reinforce the current 5-person team in France.
27-year-old founder, Céline Lazorthes, officially launched the company on November 18, 2009 after a 40-person group trip that Lazorthes organized, where she realized a need for a reimbursement system between friends. The group gift service aims to simplify informal debt between friends and colleagues by taking out the hassle of who owes who money when pitching-in for a goodbye party, present etc. The site pools all the money for a collective purchase or donation, allowing the users to pay their individual share via credit card.
Users then have the additional option to make a purchase or donation with Leetchi’s partner sites, including FNAC.com, Delamaison.fr and Acteurspourlasolidarite.com, without any additional costs – or to receive a transfer of the full amount of money collected with Leetchi taking a commission of 4%.
Since its creation, Leetchi has facilitated 350 group purchases and donations. The company received initial funding from Net2one and Zlio.com’s Jeremie Berrebi, as well as Amen and Fotolia’s Oleg Tschelztoff.
Leetchi’s site is currently available in French. While 2010 activities will be focused on developing locally, Lazorthes is already aiming to open offices in the UK and Germany sometime next year.