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Accel leads France’s largest-ever fintech round in Lydia, closing $131m Series B

Lydia, the mobile app adored by French millennials, is now ramping up its ambitions

By Isabel Woodford

French fintech Lydia has secured an additional $86m in funds as part of its Series B, taking the total fundraise to $131m and making it the largest fintech round in the country’s history.

VC firm Accel led the extension alongside Lydia’s existing shareholders, which include China’s Tencent.

Launched in 2013, Lydia is now a household name in France, with 30% of all under-30s signed up, according to the company.

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The app allows people to pay each other quickly and easily, helping coin the phrase “Je te fais un Lydia” — I’ll Lydia you.

Lydia has now started expanding beyond payments, offering debit cards, money pots and direct deposit capabilities to become a ‘one-stop’ financial app.

Despite the pandemic, the mobile payment app recorded 100% growth in volumes transacted this year. The company said it had also added more users in 2020 than any previous year, taking Lydia’s total userbase to over 4m.

“The uncertainties of 2020 have provoked the younger, mobile generation to look for even more control and real-time visibility of their financial situation,” said Cyril Chiche, Lydia’s co-founder and CEO. “I believe Lydia now has exactly what it takes to become Europe’s leading financial super-app.”

Chiche explained the new funds would go towards expanding the app beyond France, although Lydia has previously struggled with going international, pulling out of the UK earlier this year.

Still, Lydia will now be supported in its international endeavours by Accel partner Amit Jhawar, who is joining its board.

Jhawar is the former general manager at Venmo, the Lydia-lookalike that has dominated the US, who will now bring his experience of the mobile payments space to the fintech.

“The company’s ability to build a network without buying users has always impressed me and reminded me of Venmo,” said Accel’s Jhawar.

Indeed, Lydia has kept costs unusually low up till now, still employing under 100 staff and planning to be profitable by late 2021.

Lydia is now recognised as one of France’s top fintechs, and is reportedly hoping to become its first fintech unicorn.

Accel hinted at its interest in Lydia back in May, when one of its US partners Cherry Miao told Sifted she predicted Lydia was set to thrive post-lockdown.

Inside the Lydia payments/money-management app

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