OPay gets raise valuation to $2bn from another $400m

Nigerian fintech firm, OPay, has raised about $400 million in a new funding round led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2, bringing its total valuation to $2 billion. Sequoia Capital China, Redpoint China, Source Code Capital, and Softbank Ventures Asia were among the existing investors who participated in the funding round. It was also supported by other investors like DragonBall Capital and 3W Capital.

This latest round brings investments to date in OPay to $570 million and values the Nigerian mobile payments network at $2 billion, it is also SoftBank Vision Fund’s first investment in an African firm, comes three months after the fintech company revealed ambitions to raise “up to $400 million at a $1.5 billion value” from a group of Chinese investors.

OPay’s Chief Executive
Officer, Yahui Zhou, stated in an interview that, “We aspire to be the power that enables emerging markets to achieve faster economic development.”

With this achievement, OPay joins the ranks of Interswitch, Jumia, and Flutterwave as Nigeria’s fourth Unicorn. It also joins Fawry, the Egyptian electronic payment startup, as the fifth African unicorn. “We believe our investment will help the company extend its offering to neighbouring markets and duplicate its successful business model in Egypt and other countries in the region,” Kentaro Matsui, a managing director at SoftBank Group Corp, said in a statement. OPay competes in a crowded fintech field, where companies like Paga and TeamApt are vying for market share by bringing financial services to Nigeria’s millions of unbanked citizens

OPay, which was founded in 2018, has raised two rounds of funding in 2019: a $50 million Series A in June and a $120 million Series B in November. With over 300,000 agents and over 5 million consumers across Nigeria, the Opera-owned financial firm said its monthly transaction volume currently exceeds $3 billion.

Opera, which is best known for its web search engine and browser, launched the OPay mobile money platform in Lagos in 2018. It didn’t take long for the company to begin aggressively growing within the city, using ORide, a now-defunct ride-hailing service, as a gateway to the range of services it sought to provide.

OBus, a bus-booking site (now defunct); OExpress, a logistics delivery service; OTrade, a B2B e-commerce platform; and OFood, a food delivery services are just a few of the verticals that the company has experimented with.

OPay’s fintech and mobile money arm (which is its core play) are growing, even though none of these services has scaled sufficiently. OPay also claims to handle about 80% of bank transfers among Nigerian mobile money operators and 20% of non-merchant point-of-sale transactions in the country.

The company’s monthly transaction volumes now surpass $3 billion, thanks to a strong network of 300,000 agents and 5 million app users. OPay intends to expand into other African countries while concentrating on the Middle East.

Last year, OPay announced the purchase of an international money transfer license, as well as a planned relationship with WorldRemit. The firm has developed at an enormous speed by basically allowing unbanked and underbanked users in Nigeria to send, receive money and pay the bills through a network of thousands of agents, despite previous challenges in breaking into diverse areas of the Nigerian market.
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