TechInAfrica — Fintech startup focusing in Africa, OPay, has raised a $120 million Series B round supported by Chinese investors.
Founded by consumer internet company Opera and located in Lagos, OPay plans to scale in Nigeria and expand its payments product to Kenya, Ghana, and South Africa said Opera’s CFO Frode Jacobsen.
The Series B investors included Meituan–Dianping, GaoRong, Source Code Capital, Softbank Ventures Asia, BAI, Redpoint, IDG Capital, Sequoia China, and GSR Ventures.
The company’s $120 million round settles after the startup netted $50 million in June. It also follows Visa’s $200 million investment in a Nigerian fintech company, Interswitch and a $40 million raised by Lagos-based payments startup, PalmPay, which was led by China’s Transsion.
There are a number of quick takeaways. Nigeria has become the capital of fintech VC and expansion in Africa. From these moves, Chinese investors have made a remarkable pivot to African tech.
According to company stats, since its Series A raise, OPay in Nigeria has scaled to 140,000 active agents and $10 million in daily transaction volume.
Beyond standing out as another major funding round, OPay’s $120 million VC raise has significance for Africa’s tech ecosystem on many levels.
One thing to remember is how OPay’s capital raise moves Opera toward becoming a multi-service commercial internet platform on the continent.
This puts OPay and its Opera-supported suite of products on a competitive footing with other ride-hail, food delivery, and payment startups across Africa. That also means inevitable competition between Opera and Jumia, Africa’s biggest multi-service internet company.
Ultimately, Opera’s Chinese backed Africa moves will add a new component to debate around China’s engagement in Africa. In previous years, China’s interaction with Africa’s tech ecosystem is a relatively light one compared to China’s deal-making on infrastructure and commodities. Chinese actors investing heavily in African mobile consumer platforms lends to looking at new data privacy and security issues for Africa.