Opera’s Opay reportedly looking to raise $400m for expansion, eyes unicorn status


OPay, a rapidly growing Mobile Payment Start-up founded by Opera is reportedly in talks with investors to raise as much as $400 million in funding.

Reports from individuals familiar with the matter say the funds are being raised at a valuation of more than $1.5 billion, three times its most recent valuation.

These new fundraising talks come as Chinese investors, confronting a more hostile political climate in the U.S., are increasingly looking at other developing regions like Africa to invest in.

Opay super app

Founded in 2018 by Opera, Opay rode the wings of the popularity Opera internet’s search engine provided to establish itself as a trusted mobile-based platform for payment. It then pivoted into transportation, food & grocery delivery.

However, last year, the company was faced major setbacks as regulations and the coronavirus pandemic forced it to shut down its ride-hailing and logistics services in Nigeria.

Opera's Opay raises a $400M for expansion at Unicorn Valuation

But even as its attempt to build a super app fell apart, its main payment business appeared to have thrived. OPay’s monthly digital payment transactions grew 4.5 times to more than $2 billion in December 2020, according to the company. In March, the company announced plans to launch debit card and credit card features.

This growth was fueled by the huge population of its largest market, Nigeria. It is Africa’s largest economy and most populous country with 200 million people. The company also recently expanded into Egypt.

Even though OPay’s business is based in Africa, most of its backers are in China. Its existing investors include prominent Chinese VC firms like Source Code Capital, Sequoia Capital China, IDG Capital, Gaorong Capital, GSR Ventures, Redpoint China, Bertelsmann Asia Investments and SoftBank Ventures Asia.

OPay’s most recent funding round was in November 2019, when it raised $120 million from Meituan and Chinese VC firms. The round valued OPay at about $500 million.

With the incoming funding presenting it with another mega war chest, reports say that the company plans to use the larger finance pool to accelerate the app’s expansion into new markets and services.


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