As CréditMutuelArkéa takes ownership of Leetchi Group brands, MANGOPAY and leetchi.com, fintech businesses should rejoice that the mainstream industry is taking notice says Celine Lazorthes
With the announcement that the fintech firm I created Leetchi Group has been acquired by CréditMutuelArkéa, the deal represents a huge coup for financial technology entrepreneurs like myself. The reason being that it demonstrates that people who are creating alternative methods and processes to financial services are clearly catching the attention of mainstream banks.
What is more, CréditMutuelArkéahas placed a huge amount of faith in our services such as MANGOPAY, the payments API for marketplaces and crowdfunding platforms, and leetchi.com, the online money pot, by injecting fresh capital. As part of the deal, CréditMutuelArkéa is investing €10 million into the Leetchi Group to boost growth amongst our key brands. Also by acquiring 86 percent of our business, CréditMutuelArkéa is acknowledging our skills and talent and looking to us to carry on building these businesses.
Since being founded in 2009, Leetchi Group has prided itself on providing exceptional online payment technologies for both the B2C and B2B markets. In 2013 we founded MANGOPAY, opening our London office in January 2015, to fill a gap in the market processing payments for marketplaces and crowdfunding platforms. Along with leetchi.com the group processed over €100 million in 2014 and our aim is to double this volume for 2015.
Today, MANGOPAY services more than 700 clients across 22 countries and we are due to open new offices across Europe, beginning with Barcelona and Berlin. Meanwhile using the investment from CréditMutuelArkéawe will be able to launch leetchi.com in the UK in the first quarter of 2016. Our goal is to carry on developing and building upLeetchi Group so that we can double our existing staff numbers, currently around 40, over the next two years and accelerate product development for both brands.
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In just nine months since MANGOPAY opened in London, more than 100 UK customers including Vinted, Liftshare, Depop, Property Moose and Go Get Funding have selected MANGOPAY’s payment solution. London is undoubtedly a leading location for fintech and the acquisition will serve as the foundation for MANGOPAY to sustain its strong growth from this platform and accelerate expansion with a number of new hires in the city.
Staging an Exit
The burning question for so many entrepreneurs is ‘when is the right time to exit?’ and this was no different for me. We had actually begun the process around completing a new funding round in 2015, again so that new products could be developed for MANGOPAY and leetchi.com, and thanks to the success of the two businesses we attracted plenty of attention. However it was during this process that CréditMutuelArkéa got in touch and this presented us with a whole new approach to building Leetchi Group capabilities.
CréditMutuelArkéa has been a valued partner for Leetchi Group over the last six years and it operates one of our payment service providers. The bank itself already has a solid history, and deserved reputation, for a modern, technology driven approach to banking and it soon became apparent that both parties would benefit greatly from the acquisition.
Now with the financial backing of CréditMutuelArkéa, we can go on to introduce new languages, new currencies and new payment methods to both MANGOPAY and leetchi.com. As previously mentioned, when we take leetchi.com into the UK in 2016, adding British Pounds to the service will make it only the second available currency on the platform after the Euro. Once we have proven that we can introduce a new currency to the platform, then the ability to roll it out into any international currency becomes more real.
It is this ability to pursue our ambitions and create new opportunities not only for the business, but also for the new consumers and business people we will reach in new territories which encouraged me to accept CréditMutuelArkéa’s offer.
Naturally, I am extremely proud to see Leetchi Group acquired by an organisation with such a strong commitment to innovation as CréditMutuelArkéa Group has. I am thoroughly excited by the possibilities of the future and am looking forward to what we can create. What’s more I expect that our acquisition is just the first of many across the world as fintech ‘challengers’ gain the respect and attention of mainstream incumbents. Fintech start-ups should rejoice, the world is taking notice of us.