French startup Leetchi has been acquired by French bank Crédit Mutuel Arkéa. While the startup isn’t giving any official number, Les Échos reported that Crédit Mutuel Arkéa spent more than $56 million (€50 million) to acquire 86 percent of the company. According to our information, it’s an all-cash deal.
As a reminder, Leetchi also operates MANGOPAY, a payment processing solution for marketplaces. In addition to acquiring the company, Crédit Mutuel Arkéa will commit $11.1 million (€10 million) in new investment. Founder and CEO Céline Lazorthes is keeping 14 percent of the company. The new subsidy will work on internationalization, product development and more. The team will grow from 40 to 80 people in the next two years.
“We started working on a new funding round in Q2 2014 in order to foster growth for our two services,” Lazorthes told me. “We quickly attracted a lot of interest with three term significant term sheets. But at the last minute, we started talking with Crédit Mutuel Arkéa, which has been one of our most important partners over the last 6 years.”
In the end, Leetchi chose to sell the company. Crédit Mutuel Arkéa operates Payline, one of Leetchi’s payment service provider. It has also been working on building more modern banking solutions with Fortuneo and Monext. That’s why it doesn’t come as a surprise that it offered to acquire Leetchi.
It will be interesting to see whether Crédit Mutuel Arkéa ends up developing a full stack payment and transaction management solution by combining all of its services. Lazorthes also told me that this acquisition lets Leetchi develop new services.
“As for Leetchi, the product is going to continue its internationalization by adding new languages, new currencies and new payment methods,” Lazorthes said. “We want to launch in the U.K. early next year, and we will add GBP to Leetchi.com, our first currency beyond EUR.”
A lot of users have been using Leetchi to create public money pots. In these cases, Leetchi users don’t want to collect money for a birthday gift — they’re doing it to give money to a cause for example. Leetchi is going to improve support for these money pots.
The company is also thinking about issuing prepaid cards to spend your outstanding Leetchi balance directly in store. MANGOPAY will get a better API, more currencies and more payment methods.
Following the acquisition, everybody is staying at the company for now. And it should help the team deliver on this ambitious roadmap.