Chinese investors back $120m funding in Africa-focused fintech startup OPay

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Africa-focused fintech startup OPay has secured $120 million in a Series B round of financing mainly from Chinese investors.

Meituan-Dianping, and its investment fund DragonBall Capital, Gaorong Capital, Source Code Capital, SoftBank Ventures Asia, Bertelsmann Asia Investments (BAI), Redpoint China, IDG Capital, Sequoia Capital China, and GSR Ventures poured money into the Series B round, according to a statement on late Monday.

Chinese interest in the African fintech sector has been growing in recent years. The new investment came less than six months after OPay announced to have closed $50 million in June 2019 in a funding round led by Chinese investors, and it also follows a $40 million investment raised by Lagos-based payments startup PalmPay, led by China’s Transsion.

OPay, located in Lagos, was incubated in 2018 by Opera, the Norway-based and Chinese-owned (majority) consumer internet firm Opera on the popularity of its internet search engine. OPay provides consumers with a wide range of services including mobile payments and transfers, ridesharing and food delivery.

The company plans to use the new capital to further accelerate its expansion across multiple verticals, as well as to launch operations in new South Africa markets.

“OPay will facilitate the people in Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Kenya and other African countries with the best fintech ecosystem that Africa has ever seen, paired with the inclusion of daily use services such as transportation and delivery,” said Zhou Yahui, CEO of OPay, in the statement.

“The capital raised will be allocated to African countries where local regulation is supportive of scientific and technological entrepreneurship in the fintech space,” said Zhou.

OPay, with a strong presence in Nigeria, launched its mobile payment service in August 2018 to create an infrastructure on which the company is now adding new services. The agent-centric mobile payment operation focused on reaching the massive unbanked population of Nigeria.

Since its Series A funding round, OPay claims to have tripled its active agents to over 140,000 with the daily transaction volumes doubling to exceed $10 million per day.

Additionally, OPay’s motorbike ridesharing service has more than tripled its daily rides over the past three months, and the company recently launched additional services around food delivery and cashless payments for offline businesses.

“The additional capital will allow OPay to speed up its expansion in mobile payment services and its growth in new verticals, Further, the strength of Opera’s brand and OPay’s emerging position will continue to benefit both companies and further escalate their ability to take leadership in several internet verticals across Africa,” said Zhou.

Opera, which boasts over 350 million average monthly active users (MAUs), operates as a global internet brand providing products and services to users in Europe, Africa and Asia. The company offers PC and mobile-based internet browsers, as well as artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled news reader Opera News and app-based microfinance solutions. The company is listed on the Nasdaq under the symbol “OPRA.”

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.