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Opay Becomes Unicorn After Raising $400 Million

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Oluwatosin Ogunjuyigbe

A seasoned business content writer, financial markets analyst, and tech enthusiast.

Nigerian Chinese-backed and Africa-focused fintech platform, OPay, on Monday, announced raising fresh $400 million in a funding round led by Japanese Softbank.

According to Opay, this round puts its valuation at $2 billion and was supported by China’s Sequoia Capital, the venture arm of China’s food delivery company, Dragonball Capital, Redpoint China, Sourcecode Capital, Softbank Ventures Asia and 3W Capital.

In May, the Nigerian payments company was looking to raise $400 million. While that kind of investment was likely to accord it Unicorn status, the company surpassed its expected valuation of $1.5 billion at the time.

This valuation increases the list of unicorns in Africa - which is startups valued above a billion-dollar - to five, joining Interswitch, Jumia, Fawry and Flutterwave.

In Nigeria, where the company started in August 2018 and is still the base for its main operations, agent banking is a recent source of growth. OPay provides individuals with a point-of-sale machine and underlying software, so they can act as banks and ATMs (except they can’t open 24/7). These agents are able to open bank accounts, receive deposits, and fulfil withdrawals.

The company says it processes $3 billion in transactions every month, and, in May 2020, reported having over 300,000 agents across the country. Apart from agent banking, payments processing for businesses is at OPay’s core; one format for this is the use of QR codes.

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.


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