Opera founded startup OPay raises $50M for mobile finance in Nigeria

12 July 2019

Money Transfer

OPay, an Africa-focused mobile payments startup founded by Norwegian browser company Opera, has raised $50 million in funding.

Lead investors include Sequoia China, IDG Capital and Source Code Capital. Opera also joined the round in the payments venture it created.

OPay will use the capital (which wasn’t given a stage designation) primarily to grow its digital finance business in Nigeria — Africa’s most populous nation and largest economy.

OPay will also support Opera’s growing commercial network in Nigeria, which includes motorcycle ride-hail app ORide and OFood delivery service.

Opera 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.

Opera Opay NigeriaOn the payments side, OPay in Nigeria has scaled to 40,000 active agents and $5 million in daily transaction volume.

The $50 million investment in OPay is more than just another big round in Africa. It has significance for the continent’s tech ecosystem on multiple levels.

To start, OPay’s raise tracks greater influence in African tech from China — whose engagement with African startups has been light compared to China’s deal-making on infrastructure and commodities. OPay founder Opera was acquired in 2016 for $600 million by a consortium of Chinese investors, led by current Opera CEO Yahui Zhou.

The majority of the investment for OPay’s raise comes from Chinese funds and sources, including Source Code Capital, Sequoia China and GSR Ventures. There’s not a lot of statistical data on the value of Chinese VC investment in Africa, but a large portion of $50 million to a fintech venture stands out. Read the full article on TechCrunch here.