Everyone knows how painful it can be when someone owes you money. Whether it be that the person is your flatmate and needs to pay you their part of the rent or a simple friend who owes you their share for a group dinner where you picked up the bill for everyone, not being reimbursed can create tension – as the French expression “les bons comptes font les bons amis” or good accounts make good friends indirectly states.
Not your average French startup story.
On a continent where people consistently criticize VCs for being risk averse, Leetchi has potentially proven the opposite. When Leetchi first started in 2009, the only equivalent to the platform was literally passing around a physical envelope to collect money from people. In fact, this is part of what inspired founder Céline Lazorthes to launch her company in the first place; she had organized an event for her university and even though she passed around an envelope to collect money from participants, she ended up having to fork over a lot for other people. Thus, Leetchi became the first online solution in the French market for people to collect money from people to make group purchases.
In a country like France where there are far fewer early adopters than the US, Leetchi has greatly benefited from opening up its API – which it did in October 2010. Since then, online marketplaces and crowd funding platforms like Ulule (crowd funding), Pixmania (e-commerce) and Skimm (mobile payments) have used Leetchi’s API and in turn helped with user adoption.
(This is the video developed by Leetchi and Pixmania for the launch of their Facebook app.)
Looking like Wepay.
Despite the fact that Leetchi employs roughly half the number of people as US-competitor WePay, the companies are incredible similar. Both founded around the same time more or less, both companies have raised a total of roughly the same amount and both have high profile investors. Wepay has raised just over $9 million with investors like Dave McClure, Ron Conway and Max Levchin. Leetchi, on the other hand, has raised around $8 million with equally high-profile investors, including 360 Capital Partners, Oleg Tscheltzoff (Fotolia), Jeremie Berrebi (Kima Ventures) and now IDinvest (formerly AGF Private Equity).
This last round of €4 million ($5.5 million) is primarily for international expansion to the UK and Germany – which will allow Leetchi to be present in Europe’s 3 largest markets. The platform is already available in both German and English.
80,000 100,000 B2C users and 1 transaction happening every 40 seconds via the platform in France alone, it’s likely that Leetchi will be a European company to watch as it continues to conquer new territory.