Africa-focused fintech startup OPay has raised a $120 million Series B round backed by Chinese investors.
Series B investors included Meituan-Dianping, GaoRong, Source Code Capital, Softbank Asia, BAI, Redpoint, IDG Capital, Sequoia China and GSR Ventures. OPay’s $120 million round comes after the startup raised $50 million in June.
It also follows Visa’s $200 million investment in Nigerian fintech company Interswitch and a $40 million raised by Lagos-based payments startup PalmPay — led by China’s Transsion. There are a couple of quick takeaways. Nigeria has become the epicentre for fintech VC and expansion in Africa.
Opera’s activity on the continent represents both trends. The Norway-based, Chinese-owned (majority) company founded OPay in 2018 on the popularity of its internet search engine. Opera’s web browser has ranked No. 2 in usage in Africa, after Chrome, the last four years.
The company has built a hefty suite of internet-based commercial products in Nigeria around OPay’s financial utility. These include motorcycle ride-hail app ORide, OFood delivery service and OLeads SME marketing and advertising vertical.
“OPay will facilitate the people in Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Kenya and other African countries with the best fintech ecosystem. We see ourselves as a key contributor to…helping local businesses…thrive from…digital business models,” Opera CEO and OPay Chairman Yahui Zhou, said in a statement.
Opera CFO Frode Jacobsen shed additional light on how OPay will deploy the $120 million across Opera’s Africa network. OPay looks to capture volume around bill payments and airtime purchases, but not necessarily a priority. “That’s not something you do every day. We want to focus our services on things that have high-frequency usage,” said Jacobsen.