Nigerian mobile payments start-up OPay raises $50m

Opera, the company behind the second most used web-browser in Africa (for the last four years running), founded OPay in 2018.

The company was set up to tackle the fact that “Over 60pc of people in Africa remain unbanked”, which leaves them unable to “access the most basic financial services to invest in their education and businesses”, ultimately limiting their full potential. OPay's aim is to ensure that everybody has access to participate in the world economy, regardless of their circumstances or background.

Today (10 July), OPay announced that it has raised a total of $50m in funding, with lead investors including IDG Capital, Sequoia China, Source Code Capitial, Meituan-Dianping, GSR Ventures and Opera Limited.

With the funding, OPay plans to expand to additional African markets and leverage its brand and app into adjacent verticals, including motorbike ridesharing and food delivery services. OPay is reportedly “already experiencing demand far in excess of its capacity and is rapidly adding to its motorbike fleet, ensuring a highly visible presence in its core market, Nigeria.”

Within a year of launching, OPay saw daily transaction volumes exceed $5m, and was well on the way to becoming Nigeria's largest transaction provider, making it a possible competitor for Africa's largest multi-service internet company, Jumia.

Chairman and CEO of Opera Limited, Yahui Zhou, commented, “By incubating OPay and supporting the company through its rapid acceleration, Opera has also demonstrated its ability to leverage its brand and consumer reach to create attractive, fast-growing businesses on the African continent. We are highly pleased by the team's results and are excited to continue supporting OPay as the journey continues.”

Partner of Sequoia China, Qingsheng Zhen, said, “We are excited to be part of its continued growth, as it provides access to better mobile banking services for Nigeria's 200m population, and expands into new areas.”

For the last number of years, Kenya has been the largest African user of P2P digital , due in part to Nigeria's Central Bank limiting the ability of non-banks to offer mobile payment services. Earlier this year, Nigeria's Central Bank lifted those restrictions, which made things a lot easier for fintech companies to set up in the country.

Opera has a particularly large reach in Africa, with 120m people using Opera's browsers, standalone news app and fintech services. Outside of Africa, there are 350m people using Opera's products.

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