Opay nets $400m to become Nigeria’s newest unicorn in Softbank-led funding round

Lagos-based mobile payment platform OPay reportedly raised $400m in a funding round led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2, valuing it at $2bn.

Other investors in the funding round include Sequoia Capital China, Source Code Capital, Meituan-backed fund Long-Z, DragonBall Capital, Redpoint China and 3W Capital.

The new financing also comes two years after OPay announced two funding rounds in 2019 — $50m in June and a $120m Series B in November. This latest investment brings the total funding raised by the Lagos-based company to $570m.

The company said its monthly transaction volume now exceeds $3bn. It also boasts over 300,000 agents and more than 5 million users across Nigeria. OPay, which has notched up 160 million active users in Africa since its launch in 2018, said it will use the capital to invest in African markets including Nigeria and Egypt, as well as Middle Eastern markets. This feat makes Opay the fifth Unicorn in Africa alongside Interswitch, Jumia, Fawry and Flutterwave.

Incubated by Norwegian-based consumer internet outfit Opera, OPay launched its agent-centric mobile payments service in August 2018, entering a market with a large unbanked population.

Speaking on the latest funding, Opay CEO, Yahui Zhou said the company is focused on helping emerging markets reach a faster economic development. “We want to be the power that helps emerging markets reach a faster economic development.” Zhou also founded Chinese gaming company Beijing Kunlun Tech Co Ltd, which was once the owner of the popular dating app Grindr. Washington had ordered Kunlun to divest Grindr in 2019 amid concerns over the safety of its handling of user data.

Echoing a similar sentiment SoftBank Group managing director Kentaro Matsui added, “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.”

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