Ivorian fintech Julaya raises $2m to digitise business payments in West Africa

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Ivory Coast-based fintech startup Julaya, which provides businesses and institutions with an online platform to disburse payments to mobile money and mobile banking wallets, has received US$2 million in pre-Series A funding to grow and expand its product in West Africa. 

Founded in 2018 by Mathias Léopoldie and Charles Talbot, Julaya has a customer base that ranges from SMBs to large corporates and government institutions, and includes brands such as the e-commerce company Jumia.

The startup, which previously raised US$250,000 in 2018 and US$550,000 in 2019/2020, in June raised a US$2 million pre-Series A round to fund its next stage of growth. Investors include corporate venture capital firms Orange Ventures and MFS Africa Frontiers, VC firms Saviu Ventures, Launch Africa Ventures and 50 Partners Capital, and business angels from Europe and Africa.  

Julaya will use the funding for further market penetration in Ivory Coast, expansion in West Africa – starting with Sénégal – and new product development. The latter includes integrating new digital wallets to its disbursement offering and upselling with a better user experience such as integrating with its customers’ ERP systems.

“Having worked in the nascent mobile money industry, we realised that the large consumer penetration of telecom operators would benefit businesses that wanted to reach the unbanked and make fast payments. Our platform Julaya enables companies to streamline their accounting. They improve their operational efficiency by digitising their payments to workers and suppliers,” Léopoldie said.

Habib Bamba, director of transformation for digital and media at Orange Ivory Coast, explained the reason behind this strategic investment for Orange Ventures. 

“Fintech’s environment in Africa is distinguished by its competitiveness and strong dynamism. Orange Group, through its technology investment fund, intends to participate in this boom by supporting fintechs such as Julaya. The goal is to target local technology champions at the service of the transition to a more digital and responsible world. This funding will allow Julaya to grow and conquer West Africa with the Orange Digital Centre team’s support,” he said.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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