Fintech startup OPay has just obtained new funding worth $120 million from Chinese investors. The latest backing has come through its Series B funding round.
Founded in 2018, OPay is a mobile payments platform with currently caters to the Nigerian market. It is part of a wider network of business interests which includes the country’s second most used web browser.
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Participants in its latest funding round include Meituan Dianping, Source Code Capital, GaoRong, BAI, Softbank Asia, IDG Capital, Redpoint, GSR Ventures, and Sequoia Capital.
The new investment comes just months after OPay notched up $50 million to scale its business in Nigeria’s increasingly competitive fintech space. The backers in that instance were also Chinese. Some of them have participated in the Series B funding round.
The impact of that initial injection of funds is already evident in the visible expansion of Opera’s interests in the country. ORide, its motorcycle ride-hailing business, and OFood, its food delivery service, have both been significantly strengthened.
OPay says the new funding will help it further broaden its operations, and extend its services to Kenya, Ghana, and South Africa- three of the biggest economies in Sub-Saharan Africa.
It has already obtained a license from the CBN to commence international money transfers. It has also announced that it will be changing its business model for OBus, another one of its recent ventures. In October, it launched OLeads, a marketing and advertising platform for SMEs.
The backing from Asian investors signals a growing interest in Nigerian fintech from foreign investors. Last week, we reported on Visa’s $200 million investment in Interswitch, a major player in the local electronic payments space. Another payments company, PalmPlay, has also gotten $40 million from Transsion, a Chinese mobile phone manufacturer.
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There’s also been a series of visits from high profile figures in global business. Two of them- Jack Ma, founder and former chairman of the Alibaba Group; and Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter –have visited this month. They have both spoken of their desire to help build tech capacity and infrastructure in Nigeria.
Analysts say that Africa presents an immense opportunity for these interests. In many ways, it remains a little-explored frontier as far as tech is concerned. For instance, about 60 million Nigerians are unbanked; that population could be served by fintech, with tweaks to suit the local environment. There’s also a promise of significant profits for investors in startups that are able to exploit these opportunities in cost-effective ways.
Featured image source: Gov and Business Journal
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