OPay

OPay, Chinese backed Africa-focused startup, has raised $400 million in new financing led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2, raising its valuation to $2 billion.

The round, which marks the fund’s first investment in an African startup, drew participation from existing investors like Sequoia Capital China, Redpoint China, Source Code Capital and Softbank Ventures Asia. Other investors, including DragonBall Capital and 3W Capital, also took part in the new financing round, Bloomberg reported.

The new financing also comes two years after OPay announced two funding rounds in 2019 — $50 million in June and a $120 million Series B in November.

In an emailed statement, OPay CEO Yahui Zhou said OPay wants to be the power that helps emerging markets reach a faster economic development.

The company, founded in 2018, had an exclusive presence in Nigeria before last year.

While the company started with providing customers with digital services in their everyday life, from mobility and logistics to e-commerce and fintech at cheap rates, those super app plans have been largely underwhelming.

Right now, it’s the company’s mobile money and payment arm that thrives the most. By simply allowing unbanked and underbanked users in Nigeria to send and receive money and pay bills through a network of thousands of agents, OPay has grown at an exponential rate.

The company plays in an extremely competitive fintech market. Nigeria is Africa’s most populous nation, and with a large share of its people underbanked and unbanked, fintech is the most promising digital sector in the country. The same can be said for the continent as a whole. Mobile money services have long catered to the needs of the underbanked. Per GSMA, Africa had more than 160 million active mobile money users generating over $495 billion in transaction value last year.

Parent company Opera reported that OPay’s monthly transactions grew 4.5x to over $2 billion in December last year. OPay also claims to process about 80% of bank transfers among mobile money operators in Nigeria and 20% of the country’s nonmerchant point of sales transactions. Last year, the company also said it acquired an international money transfer license with a WorldRemit partnership also in the works.

Last year, OPay expanded to Egypt, and according to the company, that’s an entry point to the Middle East market.

In a statement, Kentaro Matsui, a managing director at SoftBank Group Corp, said, “We believe our investment will help the company extend its offering to adjacent markets and replicate its successful business model in Egypt and other countries in the region.”