"Getting involved in the development of the African continent"
Interview with Aziz Daifi, founder of the startup Leya
In 2017, Societe Generale launched an intrapreneurship program named Internal Startup Call in order to make collaborators' projects emerge, expecting them to become future services or products going beyond traditional banking services.
60 internal startups were selected by Societe Generale Group's Management Committee and benefitted from a support program organized by the Group.
Among them, the startup Leya offers a mobile service that allows users to quickly find, at any time, the nearest kiosk that has sufficient liquidity to ensure a withdrawal.
Azizi Daifi - Founder of Leya
Could you describe in a few words the solution offered by your startup Leya?
Western Africa is underbanked (15% on average) but is an avid user of Mobile Money (up to 67% in certain regions). The major issue is that small sales points where you can withdraw or deposit money, do not have much liquidities available, which makes it difficult to withdraw money when needed.
Therefore, Leya aims to solve this problem: through a chatbot on Facebook Messenger (and soon on Whatsapp), the user can find the nearest point of sales with enough liquidities to conduct a transaction thanks to a geolocation system and real-time interrogation of the kiosks nearby. Leya is the Uber of money distribution.
This solution saves time, money and ensures safety for users, since they do not have to take a taxi to go from kiosk to kiosk, thus avoiding the client who navigates from one point to another to be noticed.
What convinced you to create your own startup?
Helping the development of the continent, by proposing simple, effective and pragmatic solutions that are perfectly adapted to the African market, because they are designed for Africans, by Africans.
Leya was born in Abidjan last summer during workshops where 60 users and field actors of mobile money and money transfer expressed themselves on the irritants experienced on a daily basis.
It is currently growing in the hands of 10 super motivated people from Abidjan for whom Leya has an impact that will change the daily life of Ivorians and inhabitants of the sub-region.
By solving this major mobile money issue, Leya fosters its use, thus contributing to development and financial inclusion, which is a key factor in reducing poverty and promoting prosperity.
You participated in the Vivatech forum, what did you expect from this event?
It meant starting to play in the big league. Participating in Vivatech was a way to show that Leya is an important project. The objective was to meet new partners (operators, distributors, developers, start-ups…) that would accelerate, directly or indirectly, Leya's deployment.
What are your pending or future projects regarding the development of Leya?
Leya is a market place, which means that we work on two main issues: supply (kioks) and demand (users), as well as the acceleration levers and sources of monetization (operators):
- Kiosks: with 2,400 partner kiosks recruited in a few months, the network is big enough to ensure a quality of service. We are now organizing events to unite them around an active community to maximize their commitment.
- Users: in a country where fraud is frequent, and the population is suspicious, the challenge is to come clean. To do so, we organize field events and relay communication through digital influencers. We also strive to improve the user experience by staying in contact with the population to find solutions to local constraints (data, GPS...) and make the service more accessible (WhatsApp, etc.).
- Operators: we are about to sign our first contract with an operator to provide Leya's grey label service and are continuing negotiations with other operators who have already expressed interest in our solution.
Meanwhile, we want to make our local community more responsible and organized to make it autonomous on the deployment of Leya Côte d'Ivoire before remobilizing our team to other regions, starting with Dakar.