Opera Raises $50M For African Expansion Of Motorcycle Ride Sharing, Food Delivery

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Written by Peter Pedroncelli
financial inclusion opera
Mobile money services such as Opera’s OPay are gaining popularity in Nigeria and other parts of Africa. Photo by Seyi Ariyo on Unsplash

Opera, the company behind Africa’s most popular web browser, is on a mission to become a major player in the African mobile money market.

Norwegian company Opera’s mobile money firm OPay, which launched in August 2018, has raised $50 million in total funding for its African expansion, according to a press release.

OPay plans to use the new capital to strengthen the company’s position in Nigeria, expand to additional African markets and leverage its brand and app to pursue opportunities in motorcycle ride-sharing and food delivery services.

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The investors included Boston-based investment firm IDG Capital, the Chinese arm of California-based VC firm Sequoia Capital, Chinese emerging markets-focused VC firm Source Code Capital, Beijing-based social e-commerce platform Meituan-Dianping, Singapore-based VC firm focused on early-stage tech companies GSR Ventures, and Opera.

Opera is publicly listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange, with the majority of ownership and control belonging to Chinese businessman Zhou Yahui. This may explain the investment interest from Chinese venture capital firms.

In June 2019, OPay had more than 40,000 active agents in Nigeria and saw daily transaction volumes in excess of $5 million, according to Techsavvy.

Opera leveraging browser popularity

Opera mini is one of the most widely used mobile browsers in Africa and ranks second in Africa after Google’s Chrome, Statcounter reports.

In November 2016, Opera claimed to have 100 million active users across its portfolio of products, according to the Opera blog.

At the end of the first quarter of 2019, there were almost 120 million people across Africa using Opera’s browsers and news app.

The company has leveraged the popularity of its browser to grow a network of services that rely on mobile to serve the African market.

Opera’s commercial network in Nigeria includes motorcycle ride-hailing app ORide and OFood delivery service, These are expected to benefit from the $50 million investment as OPay supports the mobile payment for these services, according to Techcrunch.

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