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PaySika CEO Roger Nengwe/Photo courtesy of PaySika

What: Toulouse-based Fintech PaySika is developing a banking app for French-speaking African markets. PaySika's mobile banking service has an app but also uses a chatbot that works via Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Telegram. Customers can conduct transactions via any of those channels.

Why: According to PaySika, 80% of Africans don't have access to banking services. But mobile penetration is high, and the founders are hoping to leverage that to make financial services more widely available.

Who: Co-founders are Roger Nengwe and Stezen Bisselou-Nzengue.

Seed round: €300,000

Investors: Business angles included Benjamin Chemla, founder of Stuart; Damien Guermonprez, the executive chairman of Lemonway; Charles Edouard Bouée, former CEO of Roland Berger; Didier Valet, former Deputy-CEO of Groupe Société Générale; Charlie Delingpole, CEO of ComplyAdvantage; Oliver Tilloy, Founder of Techmind; Adedayo Amzat, Managing Director of Zedcrest Capital; and Thibault Poutrel, Founder of Fonds de Dotation Thibault Poutrel.

Next: PaySika says it already has 20,000 pre-registrations in Cameroon and Gabon where it plans to start testing the app in the first quarter of 2022. Of those, 90% are between the ages of 18 and 35. If initial tests are successful, the team will start rolling it out to other territories.