“The beginning of my story is more complicated than the end,” he laughs. Morgan Ohanaco-founder of Defacto, a fintech company that specializes in instant credit for small and medium businesses that have just completed 15 million euros foundation round. His ID card is atypical: he was born in the United States, a Moroccan father, a South African mother, and educated in French-speaking Switzerland. At home, we used to speak English while we were at school speaking French. “I suddenly use a lot of language patterns,” the young woman apologizes.
His family condition gave him a taste for travel, especially for the continent. “I always knew I was going to work in Africa,” Morgan Ohana says. After earning her MSc in Financial Engineering with the subject of Access to Capital as a background, she returned to BCG in private equity subjects.
She mainly divides her time between Casablanca and Johannesburg. But not only. “I worked for large European and Asian companies that were buying boxes in Africa. I had to check the operations of the representatives on the site. For example, I visited a port in Gabon,” recalls the commander. During a mission, she was sent for three months to Paris. Three months turned into six, then twelve.
After more than three years at BCG, Morgan O’hana wanted to work in digital technology and in 2019 met about thirty startups to better understand this ecosystem that she knew nothing about. Then I met Rudolf Ardant and Jordan Giulifounders of Spendesk, a fintech company that specializes in project expense management.
“I remember very well that lunch where I tried to get her to join us by giving her the perks of working at a startup, while hiding the flaws,” laughs Jordan Giuli. At the time, the French unicorn had only about forty employees… compared to more than 400 today.
Initially, the young woman did sales, marketing, pricing…and once the startup grew, she became responsible for partnerships to approach accounting firms and part-time financial managers.
Through the exchange with more traditional companies the need for credit increased. A note she shared with her neighbor in the office, Jordan Giuli. “We wanted to create a product in-house, but it was a completely different system, other technology, and very complex,” Morgan O’hana recalls.
Back to small fintech
In the middle of 2020, Jordane left Giuly Spendesk and persuaded her for a second time to join his new adventure: Defacto. The duo joins him Mark Henry GearsCTO Technical Director. Launched in June 2021, Fintech offers an instant credit solution for SMEs up to €100,000.
Unlike traditional lending platforms, Defacto provides an API, a kind of IT connector, for B-to-B markets and fintech companies. The startup, for example, works with Malt, a French marketplace that connects freelancers with businesses. “When a freelancer sells a job, the big batch will pay for 60 days of barley. Thanks to Defacto, you don’t have to wait long and it gets settled right away,” summarizes Jordan Giuli.
Within six months, the startup has loaned 6 million euros and aims to have 70-80 million euros by the end of the year. To finance the companies, it has raised debt and is now claiming a financing capacity of 400 million euros. The goal: to fund more SMEs in France and soon in Germany. “Morgan thinks and moves fast. And that’s an advantage because in a startup it dies if it doesn’t move fast enough,” says Jordan Giuli.
Defacto small team
A fundraising of €15 million, spearheaded by the Swedish fund Northzone together with Headline and GFC, will enable this particular internationalization. On the other hand, no recruitment wave is planned for this year, only five or six profiles. “We are not in the perspective of creating a fleet of salespeople but by making recruitment processes that allow us to build relationships with companies,” emphasizes Jordan Giuli, referring to the Spendesk era.
Defacto still has one thing in common with Spendesk: the startup is somewhat masculine. on him 13 employeesThere are only three women, including Morgan. “More than 50% of the team is tech, so it’s male. This is It is very difficult to find female engineers “It’s also hard to talk to female investors,” Morgan Ohana admits. Northzone was the only fund I could trade with a woman ‘,” says the leader who remains optimistic about the feminization of the ecosystem.