French SME banking startup Memo raises funds for launch

Memo Bank, a French digital lender targeting SMEs, is gearing up for launch after securing $23 million in funding.

Authorised by the European Central Bank and the French banking authorities, Memo claims to be the first independent bank to emerge in France in half a century.

With the funding in place from investors such as BlackFin Capital Partners, Daphni and Bpifrance Investissement, the new venture (previously called Margo) plans to start offering early access to some clients this autumn.

It will target SMEs, promising to help them grow and achieve digital transformation, offering them payment, deposit, and financing. Although, digitally focused, the firm is emphasising that it will have experienced hands-on bankers to serve clients.

This will be done through a core technology system built from scratch, inhouse, promising strong data protection and real-time processing.

The startup is the brainchild of Jean-Daniel Guyot, Michel Galibert, and Tristan Pontet, who met at train ticketing company Captain Train, which was founded by Guyot and sold to Trainline in 2016.

Says Guyot: “As evidenced by the early stages of the Covid-19 crisis, banks are the partners SMEs turn to first.

“This unprecedented situation serves to reaffirm our long-held conviction that we must build on and deepen this existing relationship in order to support companies in their digitization while also providing straight-forward, modern, paperless banking services.”

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