French startup Lydia raised $7.8 million (€7 million) from New Alpha AM and Oddo & Cie in order to expand to other European countries. The startup lets you easily pay back your friends without any fee using a mobile app — among other things. Think about it as a sort of Venmo for France.
While Lydia has only been available in France, with today’s funding round, the company plans to launch in other European markets. With 500,000 users in France, it’s time to look at other countries.
Lydia plans to launch in the U.K., Germany and Spain during the first half of 2017. Lydia also has some ambitious goals, including reaching 3 million users in two years.
Other startups in other European countries also provide peer-to-peer payment services — for instance, Revolut in the U.K. and Cookies in Germany. So Lydia will have to expand quickly before these local competitors become too ubiquitous.
But Lydia doesn’t plan to stop at geographical expansions. Just a few weeks ago, the company introduced a good old plastic card to pay in millions of retail stores. It’s a regular MasterCard, but you can customize it to your needs in the Lydia app.
Transactions appear instantly, you can block and unblock online payments, foreign payments, ATM withdrawals and more. Similarly, you can set different payment limits and all changes are reflected instantly.
When I talked with Cyril Chiche about this new product feature, he had an interesting take on the future of consumer fintech startups. According to him, all fintech startups start with a simple product and add features that make them compete with all other fintech startups. Eventually, they are all going to recreate all the services you’d expect from a consumer-facing bank — they just had a different starting point.