These are the kind of stories XAnge is living for
There certainly are many good deals in the life of a VC, but these are the kind of stories that we live for. We are thrilled to announce the exit of Kiss Kiss Bank Bank to La Banque Postale. This is our second fintech exit in less than a year, after the acquisition of Fidor by BPCE last summer for over €100 million. A beautiful story from investment to exit.
Close, long and lasting relationships
KKBB has been in our portfolio for many years. We actually incorporated the company along with the management in 2009 ! To bet so early on the team seemed somehow crazy at the time, considering the uncertainty of the business model. At XAnge, Rodolphe Ménégaux was responsible for initiating the deal. He managed and built the relationship with the team, before I followed up myself.
KKBB has always been close to La Banque Postale, to which it brought younger clients and a digital-native culture. Along the years, the startup and the bank quickly became major marketing partners. Moreover, real friendships were born between the founders Ombeline, Vincent and Adrien, and a few internal fans at La Banque Postale. We are proud to have contributed to such a lasting example of open innovation between a startup and a corporate, from business collaboration up to this final operation.
Sometimes you just have to break the rules
This was a very unusual operation for XAnge from inception to exit. A golden rule in the VC industry is to avoid investing in teams bonded by family ties. Blood links tend to make teams more inflexible when adjustments become necessary. But the talent and the vision were there : we blatantly broke this rule with KKBB, as Ombeline teamed-up with her husband Vincent even before the company was launched — they are parents of 2 kids, or should we say 3 with KKBB. We chose to follow through, with Adrien as the 3rd co-founder.
From musical crowdfunding to fintech, a stunning evolution!
At first KKBB wanted to build a musical crowdfunding platform, but quickly pivoted the model to something completely different. The initial idea was to pay risk-takers, giving backers the opportunity to double or triple their investments on the platform. But doubling or tripling a €20 investment will only take you so far. We quickly realised the real drivers for backing a project were passion and emotion, rather than financial incentive. KKBB shifted to a “crowd-gifting” model, which was starting to show traction with Kickstarter in the US.
A few years later KKBB launched Hellomerci, a no-interest loan platform that allowed communities, friends and families mostly, to lend cash — and make sure they got their money back!
Later on came Lendopolis, which allows individuals to lend cash to businesses, with interest. This third platform was launched with the support of a great media deal with Les Echos. Its success opened the road to a decisive €5,3 million financing round led in 2016 with Orange Digital Ventures. Here we must underline the team’s remarkable frugality : KKBB is a textbook case of capital efficiency. Until 2016, the company relied on a team of 15 only to develop and run its 3 distinct platforms — all this against serious, talented players like Kickstarter, Lendix or Ulule !
Like most crowdfunding platforms, KKBB’s business model is now evolving towards service modularity. More and more, the industry’s different services (fundraising, anti-laundering, investment advisory, etc.) are sliced into different micro-modules for better integration to banking, medias, ecommerce or marketplaces.
Fintech + big bank = ❤
This operation between KKBB and La Banque Postale also validates our main philosophy : at XAnge, we firmly believe that fintech and banks are allies rather than enemies. The true threat for the banking industry doesn’t come from startups, but from the Silicon Valley (Facebook and Amazon primarily) and Asia. WeChat’s financial services is just an example of what may come. It is a very positive thing to see the French ecosystem accelerate its transformation and prepare for the upcoming revolutions.