Lydia, the French funds app with 8 million customers, launches cell banking app Sumeria

When you dwell within the U.S., chances are high you utilize apps like Venmo and Money App to pay again your folks or cut up the payments along with your roommates. Lydia is a French startup that additionally turned funds right into a cell client app and repair.

Now, after reaching 8 million customers, the corporate finds itself in an fascinating place. Does it wish to add extra monetary companies to develop its common income per person? Or does it wish to simplify its app to be sure that as many individuals as attainable use Lydia to ship and obtain cash from their telephones?

The corporate has primarily determined that it doesn’t wish to choose one possibility over the opposite. That’s why Lydia is launching a challenger financial institution, Sumeria, and splitting itself into two apps — Lydia for peer-to-peer funds and Sumeria for people who find themselves searching for a mobile-first checking account.

“We’re proud to announce the launch of our European banking venture, Sumeria. It’s the identical firm, Lydia Options, that’s launching a banking venture,” Lydia’s co-founder and normal supervisor, Antoine Porte, advised TechCrunch.

The choice is smart for those who’ve been utilizing Lydia for greater than a few years. After elevating €235 million ($255 million at in the present day’s alternate fee) and specializing in development, the corporate determined to refocus on monetization in late 2022 and 2023.

The consequence has been a blended bag as Lydia grew bigger and its app grew to become extra sophisticated. Whereas most customers had been utilizing Lydia for fast cell funds, the corporate saved telling its customers that they might additionally use it as a checking account with a devoted account quantity and a Visa debit card. The corporate additionally gives inventory and crypto buying and selling, small loans, financial savings accounts, cashback and extra.

Two million customers are actually utilizing these superior options, and a few of them even began paying for a month-to-month subscription — the corporate says that this a part of the corporate is worthwhile. However throughout that course of, Lydia inadvertently alienated a part of its person base — it was not as easy to make use of because it was.

That’s why Lydia is attempting to carry readability to its choices. A number of weeks in the past, the corporate launched a second app, merely (and confusingly) referred to as Lydia, devoted to peer-to-peer funds. Present Lydia customers who simply wish to ship cash with their cellphone and create cash pots ought to change to this new app. Hopefully, this would be the final complicated transfer.

As for Lydia’s unique app, the corporate is totally altering its strategy to cell banking and launching Sumeria, a European challenger financial institution. It’s a brand new identify and a brand new begin.

This transfer comes a number of months after communications professional and influencer Anne Boistard gathered complaints from former Lydia workers for her Instagram account, Stability Ton Company.

Porte and Lydia’s co-founder and president, Cyril Chiche, admitted that they made errors prior to now. “Nothing new was launched. These are issues that we’d already processed internally,” Chiche mentioned. Now, the corporate desires to maneuver on and the brand new model is a part of this course of.

“We already had this concept [of rebranding] in thoughts. It was already within the works. However all that after all helped us transfer on to one thing extra severe. We have been criticized for the way in which we acted as a scrappy startup,” Porte mentioned.

Picture Credit: Romain Dillet / TechCrunch

All of Lydia’s banking options have been carried over to Sumeria. Customers get a checking account with a devoted IBAN to obtain cash and make SEPA funds, in addition to a debit card that they’ll management from their cellphone. The corporate believes it may make a greater checking account than conventional banking establishments. This pitch is paying homage to the earlier wave of European and British challenger banks, similar to N26, Monzo and Starling Financial institution.

“Banks work for their very own pursuits earlier than these of their prospects. It doesn’t use expertise in an environment friendly method,” Chiche advised TechCrunch. “On-line banking is a software program front-end for processes and organizations which can be clearly outdated and due to this fact very costly to run.”

Sumeria brings a brand new emblem, some new card designs and a whole cell app redesign with a less complicated fundamental display. You’ll see your card in a customizable digital pockets on the app house display, your fundamental account and its steadiness on the prime, and your most up-to-date transactions on the backside.

You’ll be able to scroll right down to see all of your accounts or scroll as much as dig a bit extra in your transaction historical past. There’s no menu on the backside of the display to modify from one tab to a different. Sumeria can also be launching an online interface so you may see your steadiness and transactions with out having to put in the app, or if you wish to use a pc.

What’s completely different from different challenger banks is that Sumeria desires to simplify the way in which you handle cash. Folks will earn 2% on their money steadiness (4% for the primary three months) so long as they use their Sumeria card at the very least 15 instances monthly — your cash doesn’t must be segregated to a separate financial savings account.

“We generate curiosity for all of your accounts. You don’t must put cash on this or that account,” Porte mentioned. “There are presently €500 billion of deposits that don’t generate any curiosity in private present accounts in France,” Chiche mentioned.

Picture Credit: Lydia Options

Not like Revolut, Sumeria will focus solely on the European market in order that individuals who dwell in France, Germany or Spain really feel like they’re utilizing a French, German or Spanish checking account. “Their imaginative and prescient was worldwide, not European. The valuation required to lift a lot cash made them promise an excessive amount of,” Porte mentioned.

With this new identify, the corporate hopes individuals will take Sumeria extra severely and think about using it as their fundamental checking account — that’s the opposite motive for the rebranding. That’s additionally why the corporate will open a retailer in Paris this summer time the place individuals will have the ability to speak to Sumeria consultants.

It will likely be a form of financial institution department, however with out the standard places of work that you could find in financial institution branches. It should work extra just like the genius bar in Apple shops.

Lydia has set formidable targets with Sumeria. The corporate plans to take a position €100 million in its new enterprise and rent 400 individuals over the following three years. Sumeria desires to succeed in 5 million prospects by 2027.

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