Orange Digital Ventures has acquired a stake in PayJoy, a digital platform that allows people with limited or no access to credit to pay for a smartphone in regular installments. This investment comes as part of PayJoy’s Series A-funding round alongside several VCs including Union Square Ventures (USV), Draper Nexus Ventures, Fenway Summer Ventures, Core Innovation Capital, among others.
PayJoy’s platform aims to reduce the financial barriers to acquiring a smartphone thereby opening up the smartphone market for over two-thirds of the world’s population who do not yet own one (over 5 billion people). Currently, consumers with limited resources and little or no credit profiles, who represent a large and significant market of global consumers, do not have access to traditional phone leasing schemes.
PayJoy’s software platform provides a unique and disruptive way of making smartphone ownership more affordable for the next-billion consumers: the platform’s device-management software installed on smartphones transforms them into software-enabled collateral that allows third-party institutional lenders to finance the smartphone upfront and consumers to pay in monthly installments.
Pierre Louette, Orange’s CEO Delegate in charge of Orange Digital Ventures said: “This investment in PayJoy further demonstrates the Orange Group’s ambition to support and accelerate the digital evolution of our customers globally, and in particular for our 110 million customers in Africa and the Middle East. Investing in PayJoy represents a logical extension of our investments in other frontier markets such as Jumia Group (formerly Africa Internet Group), Afrimarket and Afrostream. PayJoy illustrates our belief at Orange that disruptive ways of thinking can often provide surprisingly simple solutions for breaking down previously unsurmountable barriers”.
Doug Ricket Founder and CEO of PayJoy said: “We are delighted to partner with Orange Digital Ventures for the purpose of bringing mobile finance to under-banked consumers in emerging markets, and in particular we welcome Olawale Ayeni as a Board advisor to help PayJoy on the road ahead”.
PayJoy represents a novel and disruptive approach to providing credit to thin-file consumers, which according to McKinsey research represents a potential US $ 2.3 trillion market, with an initial focus on the US $400 billion, global smartphone opportunity. PayJoy’s software enables the emergence of a two-sided market place that brings together institutional third-party lenders and thin-file consumers. The company is currently located in California, USA.
Orange Digital Ventures identifies and funds early-stage start-ups. Orange Digital Ventures proceeds by making investments via minority holdings. The focus is on financing start-ups working in areas that are set to transformation the digital ecosystem and to target large markets/sectors, through innovation, disruptive technologies or new business models. In particular, Orange Digital Ventures supports start-ups in the fields of new Connectivities, Enterprise Cloud and data, the Internet of Things and Fintech, from any geographical location.