African fintech startup Opera’s OPay received $120 million in funding from Chinese investors

OPay has grown its business from payments to other fields with OWealth, ORide, and OFood.

Incubated by Opera, famous for its web browser, Africa-based startup OperaPay, widely known as OPay, has gained $120M from the Chinese investors in series B round. Along with PalmPay, OPay is now one of the most funded fintech startups in Africa.

Series B investors included Chinese local life service platform Meituan-Dianping, and other venture capital firms GaoRong, Source Code Capital, Softbank Asia, BAI, IDG Capital, Sequoia China, GSR Ventures and American VC Redpoint.

Opera’s Chief Financial Officer Frode Jacobsen said they are going to use this amount to scale it to the maximum in Nigeria. Moreover, they will grow their payments product in other countries of region Kenya, Ghana, and South Africa.

Located in Lagos, the Nigeria-based fintech startup has expanded itself from a payments company to a jack of all trades. In addition to OPay, its digital wallet platform wallets and online payment system, the company operates a bike/taxi-hailing service (ORide), a food delivery service (OFood), and a wealth management solution (OWealth) as well.

In Nigeria, it operates Opera’s lending service, OKash, which offers huge discounts and low transaction fees that attracts the users to use its services. ORide, the company’s biggest growth enabler, slashes fares as much as 50% for riders. It has tried to cut back on some of these offerings recently, adjusting discount on fund transfers and ride trips.

To expand its services to other parts of Nigeria, OPay has already grown a network of agents. According to TechCabal it today has over 100,000 agents, up from 3,000 in December 2018. In August, the company reported that it processes $10 million worth of transactions on a daily base.

Meituan-Dianping, Source Code Capital, IDG Capital, Sequoia China, and GSR Ventures had already funded $50M to the company in July. But on this occasion, few other new investors invested as well included Japan’s Softbank Asia, BAI, Redpoint, and GaoRong, which shows how much the company has become an attraction for investors since the last round.

Besides the Chinese, the US-based financial services corporation Visa had invested $200M in Interswitch as well, another Nigeria-based fintech startup. Nigeria is now an obvious winner in Africa for its fintech products.  

These large amounts of early-stage investment by Chinese investors for the African startups raised many speculations. These investments give a message of how much confidence and success China has gained in the form of their native ventures like AliPay and WeChat Pay. 

As Opera, the second most popular web browser in Africa, is owned by Chinese businessman Zhou Yahui, it is clear that China wants to be part of Africa’s tech growth more than anyone else.

Featured image: OPay

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