Opera, a global software company popular for its Opera Mini mobile web browser is ramping up its portfolio in Africa specifically Nigeria. It has moved beyond software business to establish OPay.
Opay, a mobile finance platform, currently has 40,000 active agents and has processed over $5 million worth of transactions since it was founded in 2018. Other portfolios include ORide, a motorcycle ride-hail app and OFood, an online food delivery platform.
To scale OPay, the Opera Mini owned company has raised $50 million funding round. The investment was led by Sequoia China, IDG Capital, and Source Code Capital. Opera also contributed to the funding round in the payments venture it created.
The new $50 million investment in Opay further intensifies the competition in the Nigerian mobile money space as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) continues to relax rules for establishing mobile money banks. The CBN aims to achieve 80% financial inclusion by 2020.
But, with less than two years to the 2020 target, data from Enhancing Financial Innovative and Access (EFInA) shows that 36.6 million eligible Nigerian adults which are about 36.8 per cent still do not have access to any form of financial services.
Regardless, there are now a significant number of fintech companies working to offer mobile financial services to Nigerians not only in the urban areas but also in rural Nigeria. Alongside OPay, there are fintech companies like Paystack, Flutterwave, Kuda, Carbon, TeamApt and Paga among many others offering various financial services.
To make it more, interesting, telecommunication companies are entering the digital finance business. MTN, Nigeria’s biggest telco recently registered a new subsidiary with the Corporate Affairs Commission, Yello Digital Financial Service Limited.
The subsidiary, which is yet to commence operations, was created in June 2018 to provide mobile financial services to Nigerians. This has forced Banks to adjust so that they won’t be blown out of business by the quick and innovative fintech companies.
Hence, OPay’s new funding is coming at the right time because there are millions of Nigerians who are yet to have access to financial services.
As the struggle for market share or dominance becomes palpable, Opay has to offer fintech services that are sterling and affordable. Perhaps, they also have to make inroads in Nigeria’s countryside where the unbanked population are largely located.
Beyond this, Opera CEO Yahui Zhou says: “Geographic expansion of OPay and other services is a key part of our plans” without revealing more information about the plans.