Nigerian mobile payments platform OPay has raised $400 million in a new funding round led by SoftBank Vision Fund, valuing Opay at $2 billion and marking the first investment in an Africa-based startup by SoftBank Vision Fund.
Other investors that participated in the round include Sequoia Capital China, DragonBall Capital, the venture arm of Chinese food-delivery giant Meituan, Redpoint China, Source Code Capital, SoftBank Ventures Asia, and 3W Capital.
Founded in 2018 by the developers of the popular Opera mini browser, Opay enables users to easily pay for items such as transportation, food, and groceries electronically using a mobile phone via the OPay App. The company’s technology is designed to replace cash and other legacy payment methods, helping local governments improve financial and information security. The latest funding brings investments to date in OPay to $570 million.
OPay plans to use the new funds to expand to markets in other countries. “We want to be the power that helps emerging markets reach faster economic development,” OPay’s Chief Executive Officer, Yahui Zhou, said.
SoftBank expressed its trust in OPay’s ability to bring about rapid economic development and believes that its investment in OPay “will help the company extend its offering to adjacent markets and replicate its successful business model in Egypt and other countries in the region.”
OPay previously offered ride-hailing and bike-sharing businesses but shut them down last year following a government ban on motorcycles in Lagos. The fintech startup witnessed staggering growth during the pandemic last year with the value of its gross transactions surging to over $2 billion in December. Currently, OPay’s monthly transaction volumes exceed $3 billion, precipitated by its strong network of 300,000 agents and 5 million registered app users.
OPay has successfully expanded to North Africa and now has a physical location in Egypt. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, attempts to expand to South Africa and Kenya have been unsuccessful. Nevertheless, its Pan-African ambitions, which include entering markets in other African countries, remain unchanged. In addition to African countries, OPay has its eyes set on markets in the Middle East.