African fintech OPay valued at $2B in SoftBank Vision Fund 2-led $400M funding

Chinese-backed and Africa-focused fintech firm OPay raised $400 million in new financing led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2, Bloomberg reported Monday, valuing the corporate at $2 billion.

The spherical, which marks the Fund’s first funding in an African startup, drew participation from current traders like Sequoia Capital China, Redpoint China, Source Code Capital, and Softbank Ventures Asia. Other traders, together with DragonBall Capital and 3W Capital, additionally took half in the brand new financing spherical.

This information comes three months after The Information reported that the corporate was in talks to boost “up to $400 million at a $1.5 billion valuation” from a bunch of Chinese traders. The new financing additionally comes two years after OPay introduced two funding rounds in 2019 — $50 million in June and a $120 million Series B in November.

In an emailed assertion, OPay CEO Yahui Zhou stated OPay “wants to be the power that helps emerging markets reach a faster economic development.” The firm, based in 2018, had an unique presence in Nigeria earlier than final 12 months.

While the corporate began with offering prospects with digital providers in their on a regular basis life from mobility and logistics to e-commerce and fintech at low cost charges, these tremendous app plans have been largely underwhelming.

Right now, it’s the corporate’s cellular cash and fee arm that thrives essentially the most. By merely permitting unbanked and underbanked customers in Nigeria to ship and obtain cash and pay payments via a community of hundreds of brokers, OPay has grown at an exponential price.

The firm performs in a particularly aggressive fintech market. Nigeria is Africa’s most populous nation, and with a large share of its people underbanked and unbanked, fintech is essentially the most promising digital sector in the nation. The similar might be stated for the continent as an entire. Mobile cash providers have lengthy catered to the wants of the underbanked. Per GSMA, Africa had greater than 160 million energetic cellular cash customers producing over $495 billion in transaction worth final 12 months.

Parent firm Opera reported that OPay’s month-to-month transactions grew 4.5x to over $2 billion in December final 12 months. OPay additionally claims to course of about 80% of financial institution transfers amongst cellular cash operators in Nigeria and 20% of the nation’s non-merchant level of gross sales transactions. Last 12 months, the corporate additionally stated it acquired a world cash switch license with a WorldRemit partnership additionally in the works.

Per Bloomberg, the corporate’s month-to-month transaction volumes exceed $3 billion at the second.


Last 12 months, OPay expanded to Egypt, and based on the corporate, that’s an entry level to the Middle East market.

In an announcement, Kentaro Matsui, a managing director at SoftBank Group Corp, stated, “We believe our investment will help the company extend its offering to adjacent markets and replicate its successful business model in Egypt and other countries in the region.”

SoftBank joins a rising listing of high-flying traders (Dragoneer, Sequoia, SVB Capital, amongst others) which have lower their first checks in African ventures this 12 months. As the continent continues to indicate promise, fintech stays its poster youngster. This 12 months as much as half of the full investments raised have emerged from the sector; it contributed to greater than 25% final 12 months.

In addition, fintech has produced essentially the most mega-rounds to date. TymeBank raised $109 million in February, Flutterwave bagged a $170 million spherical in March, whereas Chipper Cash secured $100 million in May.

OPay’s fundraise is the biggest of the lot in phrases of dimension and worth, making it the second African fintech unicorn after Flutterwave and the third African unicorn after e-commerce large Jumia. The three make up the 5 billion-dollar tech firms on the continent, which incorporates Interswitch and Fawry.

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