Woman of the world, Wody is French of Malian origin, married to a German with whom she raises two children. She has been living in China for more than 15 years. She has a 360° vision of the planet and its evolutions.
Wody and Andrew, organizer of the Africa Tech Summit in Kigali and co-organizer with her of the Africa Tech Summit in Shanghai. ( Picture : J.Rombi )
A vision that has resulted in the launch of the IZI VAT platform by the startup of the same name in March 2019). A platform that allows the refund of VAT on purchases made by tourists and French expatriates: “I worked on this project while I was employed by a large French company (Auchan NDLR). The idea was to offer a fast service that would allow us to do tax-free transactions without having to wait in line at airports. Unfortunately my employer left China* and I chose to stay and finalize this project rather than follow it to France.”
It must be said that Wody firmly believed in her business model. She then created the start-up Izi Vat in association with two other French colleagues, Thierry Chopard and Baptistan, in Paris and Shanghai: “a difficult beginning but we were helped by business angels for a really effective launch last October. We target all French travelers, tourists and expatriates (including Dom Tom) who make purchases abroad and are entitled to recover taxes. All you have to do is to make out the invoice in the name of Izi Vat, scan it with your passport, notify the date of return to France on our platform fifteen hours before departure (and thus mark the end of the purchases) and our system will take care of the refund directly to the customer’s account who will of course have entered his account number. Thanks to our offices at both ends of the planet (France and China), the back office is available 24/7”.
Purchases with no minimum amount
When asked about the positioning of Izi Vat compared to the giants already present on the market for a long time, such as Planet or Global Blue, Wody smiles: “We are 100% digitalized, whereas the old models work on the invoices established by the partner merchants. We have no exclusivity with anyone, the customer is free to choose us or to go to others, but our first results are very promising.
It must be said that the Izi Vat system allows you to accumulate purchases over several days, with no minimum amount to respect. Whereas often, a minimum purchase of 175 euros is required. Another asset put forward by the young startup: “We refund in advance because the system is validated by Pablo (ATM in France) and soon by Diva in Spain…” concludes Wody, enthused.
More than 40 countries in the world offer this refund and Europe is the number one destination for duty free purchases with France as the main contributor. So much potential for Izi Vat which is paid by a tax system… on duty-free!
In 2019, she participated in the first edition of the Africa Tech Summit and met its organizer, the Irishman Andrew Fassnidge ( picture ). The dynamic young woman had no trouble convincing him of the need to duplicate this type of summit in China.
This was done on September 6 in Shanghai where a mini-summit was organized (sponsored by Xnode), prelude to a more ambitious edition to come (to be followed in our columns).
With the arrival of COVID, we had to adapt: “For IZIVAT, we had to pivot in the middle of the pandemic in May 2020, by launching IZIVAT Crossborder, which allows you to make online purchases from French merchants, with international delivery while recovering the VAT. A service that today allows us to accelerate our growth.”
Learn more about the new IZIVAT Crossborder service: https://www.izivat.com/fr/index.html?lang=fr
*In March 2019 Auchan let go of the operational management of its equally owned subsidiary Sun Art with Chinese giant Alibaba.