Lydia announces first Slack payment service and European expansion plans

Lydia announces first Slack payment service and European expansion plans



Paris-based Lydia said today that it has developed the first-ever payment app for Slack, the rapidly growing messaging and collaboration platform.

The announcement came at the Money 20/20 conference in Copenhagen today. In an interview, Lydia CEO Cyril Chiche said it made sense for the company to plug into a service that is expanding rapidly and extremely popular with millennials.

“Slack is very big and getting bigger,” Chiche said. “More and more tech companies are using it. And of course we are using it intensely ourselves.”

For now, the Slack integration will only be available for users of the service in France. But that could change soon.

Almost three years after its launch, Lydia also said it is planning to expand beyond France for the first time in the third quarter of 2016. Chiche didn’t offer many details, other than to note that the same challenge of people using cash for small transactions in France was similar or greater in many other European countries.

“If we look at the number of people using cash and checks, and we know we’re heading toward a cashless society, then people need an alternative payment method,” he said.

That’s the gap Lydia has tried to fill with its mobile app that lets people send payments to each other directly through their smartphones. Launched in 2013, the company has raised €3.6 million in venture capital and now claims 300,000 users.

With the Slack service, Lydia joins a growing pool of developers who are writing apps to expand the collaboration platform. With the new service, people can initiate payments in conversations on Slack by just typing “@lydiabot.”

If both people have already signed up for Lydia, they get a payment notification through the app. If not, they get emailed a link to make on online payment with a credit card.

The idea is that for small payments, like splitting lunch bills or requesting small work reimbursements, Slack and Lydia will provide a quick, easy solution, Cliche said.

Lydia for Slack will be available starting April 11 in France.