This project is at the intersection of my professional and personal life. I spent ten years at Société Générale, knowing the bank and its services well, I realised two things. Firstly, it had become much less difficult to create a banking product and work on user innovations; secondly, there was no dedicated solution for young people in France that involved their parents as educators. Indeed, the players in the sector had overlooked the fact that it is children born with a smartphone in their hand that will drive new banking uses. My sons, now aged 6 and 9, also played a role in the creation of Xaalys. One day, my eldest son explained to me that he was going to buy a bicycle with the €5 note I gave him following the loss of a baby tooth! In a discussion with a friend, the mother of a teenager, I had confirmation that young people generally have little notion of the value and management of money. I therefore decided to create a solution that I myself would like to use as a mother, in order to help my children become more independent.
What it does
Xaalys is the first French neo-bank for teenagers aged 12 to 17. Xaalys is a 100% digital solution. Indeed, we have developed a mirror application for both teenagers and parents, in order to allow the former to gain financial autonomy while allowing the latter to keep control over their children's spending. With Xaalys, teenagers have a physical bank card, a digital bank card and a French RIB. Thus, thanks to advanced parental control settings, each parent/child pair can use our application at their convenience, according to their own rules and customs.
How I built it
Xaalys is a tool designed with and for teenagers. Right from the construction of the application and the definition of its various services, we have worked with teenagers to understand their codes and their needs as well as possible: the need for instantaneity, real time, the possibility to interact with their friends, a friendly ergonomics in line with their codes.
Challenges I ran into
One of the biggest challenges I had to face was to convince an entire ecosystem of the viability of my project, while being a woman, and a black woman at that. Indeed, as a market maker, Xaalys had to face reticence, especially when it came to financing. But with determination, passion and a lot of work I managed with my team to create the first French neo-bank, which today is positioned on a market of more than 5 competitors, not bad for a bad idea.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
My children first and foremost. And without them I would probably never have had the idea or the will to create Xaalys.
What I learned
The intrinsic quality of an entrepreneurial project is not determined by the skin colour and/or the origin of the entrepreneur, but rather by its capacity to embody and address an identified need in a market. This is a sine qua non condition for success.
What's next for Xaalys
Having created the French market, the logical next step for Xaalys is to go to scale and continue to grow both in terms of customer acquisition and why not geographically in the future.