Payment Revolution: Lyra's Bold Move into India's Payment Sector

Breaking Boundaries: Lyra's Trailblazing Path from Toulouse to India and Beyond with Christophe Mariette, Commercial Director at Lyra and Chairman of Lyra India.

Christophe Mariette
Christophe Mariette

Commercial Director at Lyra and Chairman of Lyra India

UJA: Can you tell us about Lyra's` activities?

Christophe Mariette: Lyra was founded in 2001 in Toulouse.  Lyra has rapidly established itself as a major player in payment solutions for banks, retailers, and maintenance companies. Our in-depth knowledge of market expectations, our technical/regulatory expertise, and the quality of our customer support are the keys to our success.

Lyra’s activities quickly crossed borders to support our customers internationally, provide a global offering, and ensure local service. Today, we have 11 subsidiaries working daily to support our clients in more than 50 countries.

UJA: When did you decide to set up in India and what was your business model for development?

Christophe Mariette: I joined the company in 2004, and we started considering setting up in India in 2006. Our business is payment transactions, and we know that we need a huge number of transactions to make money, so we looked at countries with a high volume of transactions, where we had added value and where payment management was not too much of a government responsibility, as is the case in China, for example. So we decided to set up operations in India and Brazil.

I had worked with India in my previous positions, and opportunities led to opportunities, For us, the opportunity came via Axalto, a subsidiary of Schlumberger, which was looking for a service provider to update the payment terminals at Indian Oil, and Lyra had the telecoms solution to do the update.

We also had an acquaintance who had negotiated with the major Indian fixed-line operator BSNL, which had launched Pop Idol in India, and who had managed to negotiate remuneration on each call, which encouraged us to do the same thing but for the payment terminals.

At the time of our creation, we were hosted by Axalto. Our initial investment capital was a modest €15,000, and we recruited as our results grew. By the end of the first year, our profitability enabled us to recruit Rajesh Desai, who has since become our managing director in India.

We then recapitalized the company to the tune of €70,000 by issuing preference shares. Today, we employ 122 people in India, 100 people in Brazil, 250 people at our head office in Toulouse, and several dozen people in our other subsidiaries.

In India, we have developed a dedicated payment platform to be compliant with data localization. Unlike many companies operating in India, we develop and offer our solutions exclusively for the Indian market. We do not outsource.

We are very proud to be one of the few companies in India to have obtained a Payment Aggregator in-principle license from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), which will enable us to increase our business.

Christophe Mariette, President Macron and Prime Minister Modi at the Louvre Museum in Paris on July 13, 2023, on the occasion of PM’s visit to France celebrating Bastille Day.

UJA: How does your development in India enable you to expand in Europe?

Christophe Mariette: On 26 January 2024, we opened our first customer in France, the Eiffel Tower, and Indian tourists can now buy their tickets using the UPI payment method.

This contract in France was signed thanks to our presence in India, We had . To build a dedicated connection between NPCI and our Payment Institution in France, Lyra Collect Today, the group has a turnover of €88 million, including €21 million in India. We have chosen to remain independent, which means that we have not allowed any investors to join us, so we have to ensure that we are self-financing.

We aim to continue to grow in India, where we still have a huge market to reach, but the market is extremely competitive. To date, our biggest customers are banks and payment aggregators. There are few companies like ours in India. Our competitors tend to target direct merchant customers and compete with the banks to a certain extent.

However, we are aware of the importance of seizing the opportunities offered by the merchant segment and we extend our activities to include merchants in our customer portfolio. This will require us to develop complementary and differentiated services that go beyond traditional payment solutions.

By focusing on value-added offerings, particularly in payment methods and other merchant-specific services, we aim to set ourselves apart from the competition. We aim to provide comprehensive, customized solutions that meet the needs of our future merchant customers while guaranteeing an optimal user experience. We are confident that our technical expertise and in-depth understanding of the market will enable us to succeed in this strategic expansion.

We are determined to maintain our leading position in the market by continually innovating and offering cutting-edge solutions that meet the changing demands of the industry.

M. Sere-Charlet, Consul General of India, visiting Lyra at Global Fintech Fest 2023.

M.SERE-CHARLET Consul General of India, visiting Lyra at Global Fintech Fest 2023.
UJA: What message can you give about the Indian market in your field?

Christophe Mariette: The Indian market, with its 1.3 billion inhabitants, has enormous potential. Wages in India have risen sharply in the last ten years, and, at the same time, consumers are very cost-conscious. So before starting, you need to make sure that you will make money and ideally have one or more customers before; giving it a go; and setting up a subsidiary.

Ambassador Jawed Ashraf welcomed NPCI & Lyra at his residence for the launch of UPI in France on March 27th, 2024.

Ambassador Jawed Ashraf welcoming NPCI & Lyra to his residence for the launch of UPI in France on March 27th, 2024.

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