Nigerian Payments Giant OPay In Talks To Raise $400 Million At $1.5 Billion Valuation

Nigerian Payments Giant OPay In Talks To Raise $400 Million At $1.5 Billion Valuation

May 27, 2021 at 02:59AM

Payments company OPay could be looking at raising $400 million, according to a report from TechCabal.

The company launched in Egypt this year and is looking at raising funding to expand more.

OPay says it processed $1.4 billion in payments in October 2020 by itself. The number was $2 billion by December of that year.

Last July, OPay raised money from Sequoia Capital, IDG Capital, Source Code, GSR Ventures, Opera and Meituan-Dianping. Later in the year, OPay raised another $120 million in its Series B round.

The company’s ploy seems to be based on building a “super app,” which started with its service ORide, a bike rental service. There was a ban on bike-hailing in Nigeria that put a pause on that. The company chose to focus on payments after that, with the pandemic serving as a spurring factor in that, with social distancing and COVID regulations making more people turn to mobile money services.

While OPay seemed to be the only company working in the mobile payments area initially, it’s beginning to see more competitors now. There are other companies such as MTN and Airtel now edging into the space.

What that means, according to the report, is that OPay could be facing challenges even in its home of Nigeria. And it won’t be easy to take market share outside of the country.

But the company is working on new products like new debit and credit cards.

Nigeria has had a long history of cash being the primary way of accepting payments, with that form of payment being more known and trusted. But as the pandemic made it more difficult to transact in person, there was a need for digital options.

Jay Alabraba, co-founder of Nigerian payments platform Paga, said there would be a new world opening up because of the pandemic, with the future likely to look at more value-added services brought to the table by companies. Though, unlike some governments, Nigeria won’t be pushing contactless with rewards or any other incentives.